9 Apr 2021

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch: Blog Tour Review and Giveaway

Serendipity and Secrets #3 

March 23rd 2021, Kregel, Print and Ebook

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Period: Regency

 

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business--or will it turn into something more?


Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life--especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero's dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man's grieving fiance and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.

Sophie is surprised to find she isn't opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed's elderly mother, and she's already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she'll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.

It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he's come to mean to her. Now she'll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.



My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

The Indebted Earl was an enjoyable conclusion to Erica Vetsch's debut Regency series.
It might be unusual, but I think I might have enjoyed this one the most. It provided a clever take on the marriage of convenience trope whcih was not trite or corny.

Charles and Sophie are both hurting people, and both are suffering from what we would call survivor's guilt over the death of someone they loved. The same person, as it turns out. .Sophie's fiance was by turn Charles' best friend from the navy.
What begins as two people having to adjust to new circumstances becomes an interesting story of two young people learning to grow and as they take on the responsibiluty of an estate and three young girls. The irony is that both were seeking solitude and an escape, but life does not always give us what we want.

The slow burning romance, and messages about learning to trust made this a memorable and meaningful story. Unlike the others, where some of the themes felt a little forced this one seemed more natural and more lighthearted. I also appreciated how the protaganists in this story had connections with characters in the last two, but still stand alone.

My only complaints were a few details that didn't really fit the setting and were obviously put in for the benefit of modern readers. There;s no way, for example, that someone in 1814 England would have to explain who Nelson was to their fellow countrywoman. Nelson was a national hero. and a celebrity. I doubt there was anyone who didn't know who he was.

Thanks to Audra Jennings Blog Tours for sending me Netgalley widget for this title. I was not required to write a positive reivew and all opinions expressed herein are my own.



______________________________________________________________________________


Erica Vetsch
is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate. 
 
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
 
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).





27 Mar 2021

Lady Rosamund by Joyce Williams Review

 The Rose and the Ring #1

283 Pages, November 17th 2014, Redemptive Rose Fiction 

Print and Ebook

 

 


Genre: Historical Fiction- Medieval

Setting:  Scandinavia early 1400s

Strong-minded Lady Rosamund rebels at being a pawn in a political chess game that sets her up as the prize if Hanseatic sea captain Erik Branden defeats her father’s enemy.

Victorious, but injured, Erik stumbles on Burg Mosel's tower steps accidentally tripping the mechanism that opens a secret chamber and exposes a skeleton. His discovery solves a long-standing mystery and uncovers a deeper treachery. Can Erik’s integrity and love overcome Rosamund's fear and defiance?

 

 

 

        My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 This was an enjoyable story, but I have the same criticisms as I do for many Christian novels with a "Medieval" setting.

- Religion. The religion of the characters is not Roman Catholicism. Not even close. There are references to priests, but their religion is modern Evangelical Christianity. They pray about who to marry, "God's plan for their life" etc.

Rosamund at one point reads a passage in a psalm and sees a reference to "man". She responds by thinking "well I'm not a man". I would have thought any reasonably educated 15th century person would have grasped that the word referred to all humans, not just the male gender.

- Historical details. 15th century castles generally did not have marble floors, reception rooms or halls. The architecture reads more like that of an 18th century manor house.

- This is meant to be set in Sweden and Denmark, and yet there is a reference to the Romans conquering the region. The Romans never got that far North. They never got further than Germany and Britain.

I'd recommend it, its a sweet story but not to be taken very seriously in terms of historical fiction. The characters were- OK. Rosamund was sort of a Mary Sue though. I found her a bit flat and boring.

21 Feb 2021

A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White Review

 The Codebreakers #3 

September 8th 2020, 272 Pages, Bethany House 

Print E-book and Audio


Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: London, 1918



Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers, until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee after speaking out against Lenin and separated from his brother along the way, he arrives in England driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera--and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and recreating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily. He sees patterns in what she deems chaos; she sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share. When her photographs reveal that someone has been following Zivon, his loyalties are called into question--and his enemies are discovered to be far closer than he'd feared.

 

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  This novel was an excellent conclusion to the Codebreakers Series. One of my favourite things about Roseanna M. White books is how she weaves little known historical details and events into her story, whilst peopling them with colourful and realistic characters.

A Portrait of Loyalty is no exception, featuring Russian political refugees in the closing months of WW1. Not all however, are as they seem. Some are secretly Bolsheviks in disguise pursuing their own agenda.

Romance and family drama features into the story, but neither really detracts from the narrative, nor are the faith messages heavy handed. That's another thing I appreciate, actually, is how the religious traditions of the various characters are authentic and treated respectfully. Russian Orthodox come over as Russian Orthodox, not American Evangelicals with Russian accents, as in case with some novels.

Overall, a great conclusion to the trilogy, with some cameos from characters old and new.

Thanks to Bethany House for enabling me to read this title via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review

 

10 Feb 2021

Beauty Among Ruins by J'Nell Ciesielski: Audiobook Review


  Published January 12th 2021 by Thomas Nelson 

Historical Fiction

Period: WW1 

Setting: Scottish Highlands 

 


 In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

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?

 

 

My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

I enjoyed this title, but I wasn't entirely keen on the narrator. Her accent sometimes fluctuated between something that sounded more like Pakistani or Jamaican than English or Scottish.

Alex, Lily, and their supporting characters were excellent, even Matron proved not to be such a dragon at the end. I can identify with Lily being a little clumsy, getting lost and making mistakes involving her being made to do menial tasks all the time.

I did also appreciate the vague nods to various classic movies and novels in certain details. The geographical setting was realistic and well used too. I don't think there were any wild boars in Britain in 1915 though. Not even in the Highlands. They became extinct in the 1500s and weren't reintroduced until the 1950s.

I did spot a few Americanisms coming from the British characters, and I dunno, I why do all Scottish characters have to be these extreme nationalists? The English and Scottish actually have more in common that Americans like to admit.

An enjoyable historical novel which was little more lighthearted than some of the author's other offerings where the characters are on the front line of the war, or caught up in international intrigues.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for approving my request for this audiobook. I was not required to write a positive review.

24 Jan 2021

The Templar's Garden by Catherine Clover Review

 Maid of Gascony Series #1 

343 Pages, November 14th 2020, Duckworth Books 

Print and Ebook 

 

A young woman forced to fight for her beliefs. A chaplain with a secret that could determine the fate of a kingdom.

England, 1452. Under the reign of King Henry VI the country is on the brink of civil war after the Hundred Years’ War.

Young mystic Lady Isabelle d’Albret Courteault’s family is forced to flee the Duchy of English Gascony for a new and unforeseeable life in England. While they become established in the courts, Lady Isabelle discovers dark secrets about their chaplain and tutor. As their growing relationship places her in harm’s way, can she remain steadfast in her promises to uphold the monarchy and her faith?

Set amidst a period of grave uncertainty, this is the story of a woman learning to stand up for her beliefs in a patriarchal world - a beautifully crafted narrative of faith, love and grace

 

                                                   My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 


This isn't my usual fare. I have to say it started out more as a traditional Historical Romance, and I'm not entirely sure I cared for the conclusion. It's ending up as more of a Da Vinci Code esque thriller featuring the Knight Templar and an ancient relic.

I gave 3.5 stars mostly because I liked the historical details, and the characterization was interesting, however I deduct a star for a few things

- Unnecessary rape scene (not graphically described)
- Buying into the unproven idea that Queen Margaret of Anjou's son was the product of an affair with the Duke of Somerset - spoiler alert, he probably wasn't.
- The general anti-Lancastrian bias, coupled with a bizarre anti-Protestant bias in which everyone who favours reform of the church/adheres to the doctrines of Wycliffe is literally a murderer, rapist, or adulterer. I would similarly disapprove if all Catholics were characterized as such too, in case anyone accuses me of being partizan.

I understand there are two more titles to come in this series, and I would be interested in reading them to finish Isabel and Richard's story, especially her adventures in Italy, but take it all with a pinch of salt.

Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for approving of my request for this title. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own

20 Dec 2020

When the Roses Bloomed by Deborah Kinnard Review

 Faith Box #3 

120 Pages, October 20th 2014, Desert Breeze Publishing 

 

Genre: Historical Ficion
Setting: England 1485


Margery and Robert are betrothed since childhood. Their fathers back different factions in the Wars of the Roses, but what is this to them? After the Battle of Bosworth, Robert and his father fight for the losing side. Margery's anxious father breaks the betrothal and the youngsters escape by night. Though they cannot save Robert's father, Margery insists they must hide Robert. With a plan to pass as servants, they seek safe haven in London.

A poor couple must cope with many distresses. They hover on the brink of survival until they find shelter with a sympathetic relative. Brother Thomas arranges them to go into the service of a very highborn lady. In Elizabeth of York's kindness they find safe haven.
But she is betrothed to the new king, Henry Tudor, whom no one knows. What will he do to the couple whose only crime was to back the wrong ruler?

 

My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

When the Roses Bloomed was the last book in Deborah Kinnard's sadly now out of print Medieval series, The Faith Box.
The series spans nearly 600 years and the female characters are meant to be distant descendants of each other.

Anyway, this novel is set in the immediate aftermath of the battle of Bosworth in August 1485, in which two young people who's families were on different sides of the Wars of the Roses basically go on the run. Margery and Robert's relationship technically makes this a 'romance' but I think that's only insofar as its a central focus. There's a lot more going on.

This short novel gave you the "feel" for a country at war, and trying to come to terms with a new ruler, and there's a good sense of place and period. Better than a lot of books like this, I've got to say. The inclusion of certain historical figures towards the end was also a clever touch.

Sadly, this title is not out of print and I was given a copy by the author. Hopefully she will republish them some day.

An Unexpected Redemption by Emily Hamsher Review

 

 Romalo Legacy #1

268 Pages, May 8th 2018, Print and Ebook


Prince Lucian of Brasov has been running from his family, from God, and even from himself. When he decides to take revenge upon his elder brother by stealing away his betrothed, Lucian is taken aback by the woman in his custody. Her pure heart and unabashed kindness thwarts his every cruel intention. Lucian finds himself hoping that she might hold the answers to heal his past, even though he knows she can never be his.

Every girl dreams of marrying her prince, so when Lady Adelina receives the unexpected announcement of her betrothal to the Prince of the realm, she takes it as a clear sign of the Lords will. When she is kidnapped by a band of ruffians and taken far from her home she quickly learns that the road to love is never as it seems. Though her captor portrays himself as a ruthless man, Adelina cant help but feel compassion for him and the pain she finds lurking beneath the dark shadows of his character.

 

 My Rating: ⭐⭐

 

 This wasn't a bad book, it really wasn't. It has something of a fairy-taleish feel and was certainly a good story and redemption of a man who seems beyond hope, but is really just a wounded soul in need of grace.

However, is one of those novels that I really cannot understand the point of. What I mean by that is, what is the point of writing a novel set in Medieval Europe if you can't even get the most basic details right? I'm not saying that to be mean, its a genuine question.

There's no sense of period whatsoever, and apart from a few terms and phrases in Romanian there's little real sense of place either. The historical inaccuracies and cultural errors are frequent, and egregious. I counted references to a skunk and a chipmunk in Medieval Eastern Europe. Skunks are an American species.
Also, character refers to drinking hot chocolate. In the 1400s. Do I even need to tell you why that is wrong? A masquerade ball held in a ballroom several centuries before balls were even a thing, and characters eating in the American style with only a fork. Centuries before table forks were even used in most of Europe. 

  This wasn't a bad book, it really wasn't. It has something of a fairy-taleish feel and was certainly a good story and redemption of a man who seems beyond hope, but is really just a wounded soul in need of grace.

However, is one of those novels that I really cannot understand the point of. What I mean by that is, what is the point of writing a novel set in Medieval Europe if you can't even get the most basic details right? I'm not saying that to be mean, its a genuine question.

There's no sense of period whatsoever, and apart from a few terms and phrases in Romanian there's little real sense of place either. The historical inaccuracies and cultural errors are frequent, and egregious. I counted references to a skunk and a chipmunk in Medieval Eastern Europe. Skunks are an American species.
Also, character refers to drinking hot chocolate. In the 1400s. Do I even need to tell you why that is wrong? A masquerade ball held in a ballroom several centuries before balls were even a thing, and characters eating in the American style with only a fork. Centuries before table forks were even used in most of Europe.

Also, and this is a major gripe of mine: I wish authors would learn what "strong spirits " actually mean. Perhaps readers can fill me in. Does the term refer to all alcoholic beverages in the USA? Because here in old England, 'spirits' mean alcoholic drinks that have been distilled to make them stronger.

Ale is not a spirit. It never has been, and in most of Medieval Europe it wasn't 'strong'. In fact, it had one of the lowest alcohol contents of any drink . Even today, most beers and ciders contain about 4-6% alcohol. Add to this the fact that in Medieval times ale and wine was generally watered down, so the whole idea of a person being so inebriated they can hardly walk after one cup of wine. No. Just no.

Towards the end there are some genuinely good scenes and romantic moments, but for the most part I found a lot of this story a bit of a slog. I have no problem with Christian content, especially since this is Christian fiction, but the way it was delivered here. Sigh. Its just so heavy-handed and obvious. The heroine goes around preaching to everyone, quoting the Bible, everything can be resolved with prayer, and even rebuking wolves in the name of Jesus. I mean to disrespect, but seriously?

Also, I the treatment of Christianity is totally wrong for the supposed historical setting of this story. Its meant to be set in Medieval Eastern Europe, specifically the region of Romania/Hungary.
The notion that people living in a region that had been officially Christian for centuries, in which there would usually have been several churches in every major town had never even heard of Jesus and don't for the most part even know about God is beyond frustrating. And totally unrealistic.

Now, I understand if this was meant to be set in communist times, but its not. Its meant to be the 1400s. What is it which all the characters having to be atheists or total heathens? What's wrong with some (shock, horror) Catholics? Some people who actually vaguely know about Christian beliefs and teachings? Some priests, monasteries, etc.

This leads to my next point that the religion here is clearly modern American Evangelical Christianity. Its not Medieval Christianity, its nothing like it. Characters pray about every single life decision, from who to marry, to what occupation to take up, talk about 'leading people to the Lord'.

Now of course I'm not suggesting there is anything fundamentally wrong with any of those things, or putting the Gospel in a novel, but as I said before, why bother to set it in Medieval Europe, which the characters are basically American Evangelicals ?
Believe it or not, if I pick up a novel set in Medieval Romania, I actually want to read about how Medieval Romanians "did" Christianity. That would be interesting.

Anyway, whilst this wasn't my cup of tea at all, I'm sure many people will enjoy this novel. Thanks to the Publisher for approving my request for this title via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

 

6 Nov 2020

Miss Fanshawe's Fortune by Linore Rose Burkard: Celebrate Lit Blog Tour & Review

 



About the Book


Book: Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune

Author: Linore Rose Burkard

Genre: Sweet and Clean Historical Romance (regency)

Release Date: September 8, 2020

Miss Frances Fanshawe’s past is shrouded in mystery. Raised genteelly by her mother in the knowledge she is heir to a fortune, she is forced to question everything after her mother dies and leaves her with only a single clue to the money. Unless she can locate her father or otherwise prove her heritage, not only the fortune but her very respectability is at stake.

In line for a baronetcy, Sebastian Arundell has no time for sorting out questionable tangles for young women with dubious histories. No matter if they are young, appealing, and have ridiculously large chocolate eyes to melt a man’s heart. But when it becomes apparent that other people are after Frannie’s supposed fortune, he is drawn to investigate. As the search deepens, Frannie falls in love with handsome, proper Sebastian. But if it only proves what he suspects—that she’s an illegitimate pauper—will all hope to win his heart be lost?

 

Click here to get your copy!
 
 
 

My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

I'm finding that I enjoy Mrs Burkard's recent work, especially this new series The Brides of Mayfair more than her previous series. Her new Regencies remind me of the works of some of my other favourite authors and this new one won't fail to please.

So, what does Miss Fanshawe's Fortune have to offer? Quirky and memorable characters, humour and wit (including the opening scene in which the heroine is nearly hit by a curricle driven by the hero's brother) an element of mystery and a slowly developing sweet romance. Add in some scheming relatives as well alongside all that we've come to love from Regency Fiction.

Also, some characters from previous novels make a comeback and there's even a nod to Mr Mornay the hero from the author's first Regency Trilogy published over 10 years ago.

The faith messages were well-handled in this story without coming over as preachy. implausible, or making the novel read like a sermon and it seemed to be generally free of the Americanisms that are common to a lot of books like this. (Although there are references to characters eating with only forks, in a manner that's more common in the USA than Britain). 

Overall, I just really enjoyed this book, and give grateful thanks to Celebrate Lit for allowing me to be part of the Blog Tour.
  
Recommended for fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, Philippa Jane Jeyworth and Georgette Heyer, as well as those who want to get into a new genre or just enjoy a good read.

 

About the Author


Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes YA contemporary suspense and contemporary romance. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.

 

 

More from Linore Rose Burkard

Introduction:

Today we have a multi-published author with us, Linore Rose Burkard. She writes “Romance to warm the Heart, Fiction to Stir the Soul.”  Linore’s first novel, an Inspirational Regency Romance, was actually the first of its kind and opened the genre for the CBA.  Linore, welcome. Please tell us more about yourself as a writer.  I understand  you feel very purpose-driven in you  vocation.

Linore:  I do.  Newer writers usually say their purpose is to write  whatever specific book they’re working on. But I believe our purpose goes deeper than that, deeper than any single book. My purpose—which  some may consider a humble calling—is to write smart, well-researched romance infused with humor that literally warms the heart. My readers close my romance novels with a smile and the feeling—at least for a few minutes—that all is right with the world.

  1. When did you realize that was your purpose?

A writer needs to be humble enough to accept what their giftings are.   I had to accept that I wasn’t going to write the next ‘great American novel.’ I wasn’t going to be a Hemingway.   Having been schooled in the classics, both British and American, writing inspirational romance seems lightweight.  Georgette Heyer, a writer I greatly admire, once said she ought to be shot for what she writes! Because there’s this perception among the literati that romance literature is less than respectable. But I’ve learned that heartwarming romance is worthy in itself, whether it is overtly evangelistic or not, and whether English professors would agree or not.  Readers have written to me with such gratitude that it showed me that what I write is no less valuable –to those who will be blessed by it—than the classics.

  1. How did you get started?

I’ve been an avid reader all my life and was always was drawn to write, even as a child. But I saw a need for something specific that wasn’t out there—Regency Romance that included a Christian worldview.  I wanted to read that book, but it didn’t exist.  So that’s what I started out writing. My first three novels   with Harvest House were Inspirational Regencies. The genre since then has grown by leaps and bounds, which I think is great.

  1. Would you like to give a tip for writers?

It’s important to write the book on your heart, not the one you think you should write because it will make money, or because it’s what people want.  A lot of gurus are out there saying you should research the audience before putting pen to paper to make sure your book will be marketable.  Well, there is some truth in that—if you write a book about some obscure dog breed that only 200 people own, you’re not gonna have  a bestseller. But there’s a big danger in that method, too. The book on your heart, the story that won’t go away, is most likely the one that will help point you to your purpose in writing; and it will be the one that resonates with readers.

Blog Stops

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Genesis 5020, October 26

Texas Book-aholic, October 27

Blogging With Carol, October 27

Worthy2Read, October 28

deb's Book Review, October 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 29

Labor Not in Vain, October 29

Inklings and notions, October 30

Heidi and Books, October 30

For Him and My Family, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

She Lives To Read, November 1

KarenSueHadley, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

Remembrancy, November 2

Connie's History Classroom, November 3

Artistic Nobody, November 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 4

Betti Mace, November 4

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

Blossoms and Blessings, November 6

Simple Harvest Reads, November 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Romances of the Cross, November 7

Splashes of Joy, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Linore is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/102ab/miss-fanshawe-s-fortune-celebration-tour-giveaway

12 Oct 2020

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan Review


August 18th 2020, 336 Pages

Print, Ebook and Audio

Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: London, 1942, 1945

 In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.

Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King's College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

 

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


 A London Restoration is rightly described as the author's "love letter" to London. You can feel the author's love and appreciation for the city, and especially it's ancient churches and buildings throughout this novel.. What I also loved about it is that although the author *could* have fallen into the trap of writing a traditional romance, she's didn't.

The protagonists are already married, as a result of whirlwind wartime romance. Diana is an architectural historian with a passion for 17th century churches studying at King's College, where Brent teaches theology.
The 'restoration' in the title is essentially the restoration of their relationship after several years being separated by the war, and by the secrets and barriers which have risen up between them.

One gets the "feel" for London and Britain in the months following the end of of WW2 in this novel, especially the struggles of a population still having to deal with rationing and loss in a city that was still marred by bomb damage. Yet the overall tone is hopeful, not gloomy, which some humourous passages and scenes: especially Diana's lack of cooking skills.

As the two seek to reestablish their trust with the possibility that Brent may have PTSD, a potential plot comes to light in the form of a Soviet Agent. This reveals what Diana was really up to, and put all the more strain on their relationship. Will it break, or will they have to learn to trust one another and anew?

The characterization in this story was excellent, and the historical and geographical details woven in seamlessly. Of course, I appreciated the details about religious relics, and the purpose of building churches. The faith message is there, but it doesn't overwhelm the story, and its realistic. in the sense that many people did struggle to reconcile their beliefs with their wartime experiences.

Thoroughly recommended for all lovers of Historical Fiction.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read a PDF of this story via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

8 Oct 2020

Miss Tavistock's Mistake: Celebrate Lit Blog Tour & Review

 


About the Book


Book: 
Miss Tavistock’s Mistake

Author: Linore Rose Burkard

Genre:  Clean and Wholesome Regency Romance/Romantic Comedy

Release Date: June 4, 2020

Can Miss Tavistock’s mistake ever be undone?

Young Miss Tavistock is promised in marriage to Captain Rempeare by the wish of her dearly departed papa. But the captain’s been at sea for a decade. When she finally meets him, tempestuous sparks fly, and she impulsively adopts a daring false identity. Going by “Lady X,” she vows never to marry such an infuriating man.

Captain Gabriel Rempeare is prepared to fulfill his duty and marry Miss Tavistock—if only he can clap eyes on her. One circumstance or another keeps them apart, though he cannot seem to avoid the maddeningly lovely Lady X. When fate throws them together in London, Miss Tavistock discovers the real nature of the captain, and regrets her subterfuge. But can such a noble man forgive deceit? Or has her mistake already cost her everything?

 

Click here to get your copy!
 

My Review and Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Miss Tavistock's Mistake is the first book in a new Regency Series from Linore Rose Burkard, an author who was considered one of the pioneers of the Christian Regency Genre when her first novel 'Before the Season Ends' released back in 2008.

Miss Tavistock as a charming and witty read, which takes the arranged marriage trope and adds a few interesting twists. The main one is pretense and assumed identities, when Margaret Tavistock, upon meeting the man her deceased father wished for her to marry for the first time in over a decade, takes a dislike to him. To avoid marriage, she creates a new identity for herself, hiding behind the persona of Mrs X.

Misunderstandings, gossip, family dramas and mistaken identity keep the hero and heroine apart both physically and romantically until they can be honest with themselves and each other. Overall, its a very entertaining and enjoyable read.

Although counted as an 'inspirational' Regency, there isn't much religious content in this, and its not heavy-handed. It is there, but its woven well into the story without being preachy.

Thanks to Celebratelit for a review copy of this title. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense (The Pulse Effex Series, as L.R. Burkard), contemporary romance (Falling In), and romantic short stories. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.

 

More from Linore

Miss Tavistock experiences a frightening crush at the Prince Regent’s palace (Carlton House) toward the end of the book which leads to a romantically pivotal scene. But many readers don’t know that what happened that day at the palace really happened.

Here’s the scoop:

 

The fete in June of 1811 was the Prince of Wales’ first real chance to celebrate his becoming Regent in February of that year in the lavish style he loved.

Like Miss Tavistock, many in the haut ton anxiously coveted invitations. At first reserved only for the peerage and their offspring, by the time of the event, more than 2,000 invitations had been issued to all classes. The details in the story regarding the enormous preparations really happened, and much, much, more.

Since our heroine was not able to garnish an invitation to the actual grand banquet, the extraordinary magnificence of the d├ęcor, food, and costume of that night had to be excluded from the book. But it was an unprecedented display, and both amazed and perplexed the guests.

The prince was so happy with his lavish spectacle that he wished to share it with the public. The unruly crowd described in the book happened on the third day following the banquet. It was reported that more than 30,000 people tried to crowd their way in that day. Men and women lost hats, bonnets, coats, shawls, shoes, and even their under clothing. London papers afterwards claimed there were great tubs at Carlton House filled with all the lost items.  Our beleaguered heroine escapes with only her shoes and bonnet missing, but her stockings and gown are torn. Perfect situation to be rescued from!

Contemporaries both praised and harshly criticized the affair. It was described as “an assemblage of beauty, splendor and profuse magnificence,” by admirers, but as  one of the princes’ “greatest follies and extravagances,” by detractors.3

If you’re not previously familiar with the Prince Regent (later George IV), this might give you an idea as to why I sometimes find him too irresistible a figure to leave out of a Regency novel. His extravagance, flamboyance and tempestuous lifestyle are just too ripe  fodder to ignore. Though he doesn’t appear in Miss Tavistock, I have numerous scenes in my first Regency series where he interacts with Phillip Mornay, ‘the Paragon,’ and hero of the books.

NOTE: This post is an abbreviated account of the event, which is included in more detail at the back of the book.

Question: Have you ever been trapped in a crowd? What was it like?

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Just Your Average reviews, September 26

Inklings and notions, September 27

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, September 27

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 28

Genesis 5020, September 28

Worthy2Read, September 29

Connie’s History Classroom, September 29

For Him and My Family, September 30

Betti Mace, September 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Remembrancy, October 1

Artistic Nobody, October 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Blogging With Carol, October 2

Labor Not in Vain, October 2

Blossoms and Blessings, October 3

The Book Chic Blog, October 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 4

deb’s Book Review, October 4

Simple Harvest Reads, October 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

CarpeDiem, October 5

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 6

HookMeInABook, October 6

Splashes of Joy, October 7

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 7

Godly Book Reviews, October 8

Romances of the Cross, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

As He Leads is Joy, October 9

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 9

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Linore is giving away the grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10117/miss-tavistock-s-mistake-celebration-tour-giveaway

29 Sept 2020

The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline, Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and Review

 


About the Book


Book:  The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline

Author: Jan Davis Warren

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 22, 2020

Everyone believes Lady Evangeline is dead, so why not let them? Her survival depends on it.

After escaping from assassins and healing from her injuries, Evangeline Stanton finds refuge in a crumbling abbey. Her physical scars are nothing to the wounds left by the death of her daughter and abandonment of her husband. She spends most days disguised as Sister Margaret Mary, but when necessary, she dons the disguise of the recently deceased bandit, the Fox, to steal from the rich and help the starving children and widows who come for aid.

Lord Henry Stanton still grieves the death of his beloved wife, Evangeline. Raising their young daughter is now the most important role in his life, even though the child serves as a daily reminder of the love he and his wife once shared. He may never shed the weight of his guilt for not protecting Evangeline from the band of outlaws who killed her, as well as the lies sown by his sister-in-law, which he allowed to separate him from his wife just before her death.

When Henry’s ailing father-in-law sends an urgent request for help to manage his lands, he has no choice but to take his daughter with him to Castle Brighton. But the nun who comes to care for the sick man catches Henry’s notice from the first moment he catches sight of her. When the life of their precious daughter is threatened, can they overcome the lies and secrets of the past and join forces to save their daughter before it is too late?


 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 My Review and Rating: ⭐⭐

This novel was a sweet story. A romance with a bit of an unusual twist (the protagonists are already married), and plenty of adventure and exciting scenes. However, I just didn’t like it. Its mostly a matter of personal taste.

For one I just don’t feel I can call it Historical. Sorry, but there it is. It came over as a Disneyfied version of Medieval England that as an Englishwoman I found really grated on me. It wasn’t just the numerous inaccuracies. It was the twee details and quite silly ethnic stereotypes  that made me think it was aimed at 11-year olds. Until certain content reminds the reader this is most certainly NOT a children’s book.  

The Medieval setting came over as really superficial. Like the 12th century was only chosen to make it more Robin-Hoody. Swords and castles do not Medieval Fiction make, and this story could have been set at any time.  In fact, it would probably have been more credible if set in the 18th or 19th century. I’m afraid I have to mention some of the inaccuracies which include ship canons (18th century invention), and a mention of meeting a husband at a ball, when balls were not even a thing until the 17th century. There weren’t any slaves in England in 1186 and were certainly were not in the habit of going on slave raids across the border.

The other historical aspect that really got me was geographical. Reading novels like this one would be forgiven for thinking that London was the only major settlement in Medieval England, and the rest of the country consisted of forests dotted with villages of starving and perpetually starving and oppressed peasants. I mean London is the only city in England seems to get mentioned in most fiction.
Seriously, can we please learn the names of some other cities in my country? Lincoln, York, Canterbury? They do exist, and things actually happened in them, even in 1186.

My other major beef was Lady Evangeline. I never warmed to her at all. I think she was just too much of a Mary Sue or Disney Princess (perfect, good at everything, an expert with a sword “strong” and “independent”). Yeah, I’m sorry, but there are so many characters like her, and the kickass girl Robin Hood has been done many times. I actually preferred her husband as he was a more developed character. Even a couple of the villains were better.

However, I don’t want to be just negative. I know a lot of people will enjoy this novel, and its OK if you want to while away a few hours with a relatively light read with a nice spiritual message. Warning for some moderate language and violence.

I read a copy of this title from Celebrate Lit, and not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.


About the Author

Jan Davis Warren is a mother, grandmother, and a young-at-heart great-grandmother. Her wonderful husband passed away the same year she won the ACFW Genesis Award for Romantic Suspense. That win and many others are encouraging reminders that God wants her to continue writing even in the tough times. Learn more at www.janwarrenbooks.com.

 

 

 

More from Jan

Hello Dear Reader,

That you are reading this means you come from some hearty and courageous ancestors. Over thousands of years, they survived good times and bad, plagues, famines, wars, and all manner of tribulations. No matter how many different places around the globe your ancestors ventured, or where they lived and died, you are living proof they existed.

This thought never crossed my mind while writing and winning awards with contemporary romantic suspense, westerns, and even sci-fi. It wasn’t until Lady Evangeline stirred me with her story that I was lured into writing about the Middle Ages. I was even more surprised when I won RWA Faith Hope & Love chapter’s, Touched by Love historical category and the overall award with The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline. Thus began my next exciting adventure, for I had never written a medieval.

While doing research for the time period, I was humbled by the revelation that I’m alive because of ancestors further back than my genealogy has thus far revealed. They survived not only the medieval era, but many other difficult, even horrific times over the centuries before my birth. You and I are truly blessed by our ancestors’ perseverance. We are alive at such a time as this for a reason. Help us Lord to be the light so others might find You and through You life eternal.

Blessings!

Jan Davis Warren

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Blogging With Carol, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Inklings and notions, September 27

deb’s Book Review, September 27

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 29

Romances of the Cross, September 29

Connie’s History Classroom, September 30

The Book Chic Blog, September 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 1

CarpeDiem, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Life, Love, Writing, October 3

Artistic Nobody, October 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Labor Not in Vain, October 4

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Emily Yager, October 6

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

 

https://promosimple.com/ps/10116/the-secret-life-of-lady-evangeline-celebration-tour-giveaway

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