Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires. – from author’s website


This was another delightful read from Karen Witemeyer. It was a little different than most of her books in that it followed the main romance but also had a side romance. The way Witemeyer did it was tasteful and still gave you the depth to her characters that you normally expect from her. I could relate to almost all of the characters in some manner and it made the story more enjoyable for me. I liked how Witemeyer took the modern online dating and put it in the past as two people talking over the wire using Morse code. I guess one negative thing I could say about the book was that I wished I could have fallen deeper into Helen’s story and have it as a separate book, but I guess that attests to how well I enjoy Witemeyer’s characters.

A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.
– from author’s website


This was the first book of Sarah Ladd’s that I’ve read and I enjoyed it and may read more of hers in the future. This is the third book in the series but it can be read as a stand-alone. I don’t think the characters from the other books even appear in this one. I would have liked the suspense to be more consistent throughout the book, but I still enjoyed trying to reason through who the murderer was and why it happened. The romance between Owen and Annabelle was sweet and I really liked Owen’s daughter. I really enjoyed the scenes his daughter was in. They were probably my favorite.

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town’s red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn’t limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well–if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father’s companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he’s shown interest in Evelyn’s work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.

They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? – from author’s website


I enjoyed this book. I loved that Evelyn worked in an orphanage as that has been something that interests me. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Evelyn’s secret but liked how she acted because of it and how she kept her integrity during the time before she realized how it ended. I also liked how David still loved her in spite of Evelyn’s secret. I enjoyed seeing characters from previous books in this series. This book spent some time in the red light district but I would still consider it a light historical romance that dealt with a few darker issues without diving too deep into them.

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted.

Since meeting Steffan, the Duke of Wolfberg, at Thornbeck Castle, Lady Magdalen has not been able to stop thinking about him. She knows—as a penniless lady with little to offer in terms of a dowry—she has no real hope of marrying such a highly titled man, so it comes as a great surprise when she receives a letter from him, asking for her hand in marriage.

But all is not what it seems at Wolfberg Castle. Steffan has been evicted by his scheming uncle, and his cousin has taken over the title of duke. Left for dead, Steffan is able to escape, and disguised as a shepherd, hopes to gain entry to the castle to claim the items that will prove he is the true Duke of Wolfberg.

Journeying to the castle, Magdalen has no idea what awaits her, but she certainly did not expect her loyal maidservant to turn on her. Forcing Magdalen to trade places with her, the servant plans to marry the duke and force Magdalen to tend the geese.

Without their respective titles—and the privileges that came with them—Steffan and Magdalen’s lives are adrift. If Lord Hazen discovers them, he will kill Steffan and force Magdalen to marry his own spoiled son—to insure the success of his evil plans. A Goose Girl retelling, with shades of The Prince and the Pauper. – from author’s website


I enjoy Melanie Dickerson’s books and this one was no exception. I’ve always been fascinated with fairy tales, although I sometimes laugh at how ridiculous some of them are. I like how Dickerson has created ones that have a semblance of it could have happened. I also love the setting and time periods for her books. This one is set in the medieval time period so it has knights, dukes, lords, coups, etc. At times I found the characters to be a bit young but that is realistic to the time period and the book is geared more towards teens and young adults. It was another delightful read from Dickerson.

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”
Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.
As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated….
– from author’s website

I always enjoy the dialogue in Turano’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. I loved the interaction and witty dialogue between characters. It feels real and her characters feel like people I would be friends with in real life. The secondary characters added a lot to the story and rounded out the interaction and dialogue. Even though people were trying to kill Asher, I kept forgetting or realizing how serious it was because it was more of an afterthought or something to move the plot along. The characters and their interactions are the main focus. I hope in subsequent books in this series that we will get to see some of the characters again.

For the Record by Regina Jennings

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Rather than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him. – from author’s website


The suspense was a little flat but it wasn’t the main focus. The romance between Joel and Betsy was the main focus and I enjoyed the banter and dynamic between the two of them. It was easy to feel along with the two of them and understand their motivation behind some of what they did. It was a cute little romance with some suspense, but it didn’t have much substance to it. I was a little disappointed with the ending because it was hyping up to lead to a head but it never really lived up to the hype.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

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Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926— Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage. – from author’s website


This book was a lot more suspenseful than Cambron’s other books. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t the weaving of two different stories like in her other books. There were several flashbacks that gained a peak into Wren’s life when she was younger. However, because there wasn’t the weaving of two different stories together, it allowed me to get deeper entwined in the one. It was set in an intriguing era and setting and kind of made me wish I could have experienced Houdini’s illusions and the vaudeville era when illusions were that much more astounding because almost everything you saw was new before it became mainstream. I loved the illusions and that most of the illusions remained as such. The intriguing time period and setting, as well as the intriguing characters, left me satisfied at the end.

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

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Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne? – from author’s website


Another delightful medieval fairytale by Melanie Dickerson. The characters are likeable and fairly easy to relate to. One thing I don’t particularly enjoy about this series is that the series jumps around timeline wise and location wise. Some are set in Hagenheim and some are set in Glynval. This book is set in Glynval and is set earlier than some of the previous books in the series. I didn’t resonate with the plot as much as some of the other books in this series but I still found it enjoyable.

The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

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Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a brute of an employer. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met. Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer. – from author’s website

The storyline to the book felt very much like another book I had read several years ago – so much so that I was tempted to put the book down. It was only about half way through the book that it started sounding unique from the book I had read previously and I started enjoying it. There was nothing that really stood out for me as something super special about the story. It was a nice little story but it wasn’t that memorable.

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

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An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth! – from author’s website.


I love Kristy Cambron’s books for the way she beautifully weaves two stories together set in different time periods. This one is slightly different from her others in that the time periods are closer together and they intersect with the other more directly. The main characters from both periods actually meet and at the end both are in present day. At times, I would have liked more detail to give the stories more depth, but it may have taken away from the intricacy in which the stories were weaved together. Overall it is a touching story of two women from different decades finding love and acceptance primarily set in a circus.