Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?
With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.
A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.
Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.
– from author’s website
I liked the story set in the past better than the one in the present. The one in present day didn’t interest me much. The romance between Tenley and Jonas didn’t seem as genuine to me. Tenley was almost a little too eccentric for me. The only way I related to her was the writing aspect and her doubts about her writing ability. I enjoyed Birdie and Eli’s story – how they loved each other, yet because of their families, they weren’t allowed to let it go anywhere. I also liked how Birdie wanted to be a writer despite all the obstacles in her way relevant to the time period she lived in. I really liked how Eli supported and encouraged her from the beginning.
With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.
Seeking justice . . .
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé—and has broken her heart.
Struggling to restore honor . . .
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.
– from author’s website
I thought this book was a sweet little romance in a setting with some difficult topics. The historical setting and society were well displayed and I could feel what society was like at that time with black people being freed but were still not accepted by most of the whites. I liked the first half of the book better as there was more conflict and it was more nuanced. I felt like the climax of the story wasn’t well displayed and couldn’t really tell you where it was. The climax wasn’t as clear cut as I like them to be but I still enjoyed the story.
She’s Out to Steal His Name.
Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.
Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.
– from author’s website
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. At the beginning of the book, I didn’t think I was going to like Rosemary. I found White did a fairly good job of making a thief the main character and making her believable and lovable at the same time. At times the book was a little slower in pace than I would have liked because there wasn’t as much dialogue because of Peter’s stuttering. I found Peter to be endearing and the stuttering made him more so. I liked the suspense aspect as a secondary feature in this story and how it was woven throughout the story so you didn’t forget that it was supposed to be part of the story. I also didn’t figure out who the bad guy was until it was revealed which I always like because it’s not super obvious.
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.
An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.
– from author’s website
This book was decent. I did, however, find myself getting quite annoyed with Rosalyn. I get really frustrated when the heroines in books are flirted with or pursued by a man who obviously does not have good intentions and the heroine is absolutely taken in by it. It was quite frustrating with how naïve Rosalyn was in this regard. However, I really enjoyed Nate. His interactions with his family and his convictions endeared me to him. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Nate’s character I might have stopped reading the book because of how frustrated I was with Rosalyn.
Legend claims the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is hidden in Weaver’s Needle—a priceless treasure that two recovery specialists are in a race to secure for a client, and ultimately, a payday. Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever. The two must work together despite their distrust to save the legend before more innocent lives are lost. Will they find the gold or life’s true treasure. . .love?
– from author’s website
I wasn’t a big fan of this book. The suspense didn’t grab me as much as I like the suspense in books I read to do. I found it a little strange with the Native American spirituality in it and how it was integrated into the story. I also didn’t really like the ending as things didn’t wrap up as nicely as I would have liked. For example, I felt like some issues that were presented in the book were glossed over so the book could end. I also found the conversion to Christianity wasn’t well displayed. One moment he’s still critical although slightly opening up to the idea because of his sister and Landry but I didn’t think he was close enough to simply pray once and poof he is converted and there’s only a slight mention of it afterward before the book ends. I have a brother who has schizophrenia so I always get my back up when people talk about it and am more hypocritical of how people portray it in art. I found Caroll to do a decent job of not playing too much to the stigma of the mental illness, but as always, there could be major improvement as not everyone with the illness is dangerous and in this instance Caroll still included the violent part of it and gave the recovery process a longer time than necessary as most people with schizophrenia can function quite normally with the right dosage of meds.
On April 15, 2013, Rebekah Gregory and her five-year-old son waited at the finish line of the Boston Marathon to support a friend who was running. When the blast of a homemade bomb packed with nails and screws went off three feet away, Rebekah’s legs took the brunt of the explosion, protecting her son from certain death. Seventeen surgeries and sixty-five procedures later, she finally made the decision to have her left leg amputated.
This stirring memoir tells the story of her remarkable recovery–including her triumphant return to Boston two years later to run part of the race and her participation in the trial of one of the terrorists–and explores the peace we experience when we learn to trust God with every part of our lives: the good, the bad, and even the terrifying.
– from publisher’s website
I remember where I was and how I heard about the Boston bombings and it was eye-opening to read about how it affected someone not just at the event itself, but recovering from it and as she says, taking her life back. I liked how Rebekah didn’t sugarcoat her story and I felt she did a good job of talking about her own mistakes she’d made in her life. I also liked how she didn’t paint herself as a victim but as someone who was living in spite of everything. She focused more on how she recovered from the effects of the bombings than the actual bombings themselves. I also liked what she said about happy endings and that she calls them happy continuations because it doesn’t end but rather continues.
When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?
– from author’s website
I think this was probably my favorite Denise Hunter book. I loved the story of redemption and forgiveness in a broken marriage. The brokenness of the two characters and how different their pasts were brought a depth to the story that tugged at my heart strings. I thought the difficult subject was presented in a beautifully broken way that was both delicate but not skimping over the tough parts. Through flashbacks, you experience how they first fell in love and how critical points in Josephine’s life affected her. Through the present, you experience the brokenness that came from their choices that resulted in a failed marriage and their story of redemption.
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.
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.