Romancing History

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Shadows in the Mind’s Eye, Book Review & Giveaway

Welcome to the I Read with Audra book tour for Shadows in the Mind’s Eye.

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp offers readers a story rich in the tradition of Hitchcock with a hint of psychological thriller. She takes readers back to 1940s Hot Springs, Arkansas and explores the illness now known as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), its effects on families when soldiers returned home, and a persistent love in a world determined to destroy it.

Tromp’s inspiration for Shadow’s in the Mind’s Eye was her own grandparents’ stories of adjusting to life when her grandfather returned home from World War II. Back then, soldiers returning home rarely talked about their experiences and the difficult adjustment of “getting back to normal.” In the process of writing the story, Janyre did extensive research on treatments for what was known as battle fatigue at the time. She also drew on personal experiences in dealing with PTSD herself.

I’m excited to be part of this tour and introduce Romancing History readers to this intriguing historical suspense novel. Make sure you visit the Giveaway section so you can enter to win a great prize package from Janyre!


About the Book

Title: Shadows in the Mind’s Eye
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Janyre Tromp
Genre: Historical Suspense
Book Info: Kregel Publications/April 19, 2022/288 pages


Blurb

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

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My Thoughts

Shadow in the Mind’s Eye is a jaw-dropping debut novel! Set in Hot Springs, Arkansas, immediately following WWII, author Janyre Tromp takes the reader into the troubled mind of a Pacific Theater veteran struggling with combat fatigue.

The novel has a slow, but steady start that I liken to a roller coaster making its steady, gradual ascent of that first towering peak. I believe this is deliberate on the part of the author so we can not only get immersed in the southern mountain culture but can become attached to the main characters because once the plot crests that first peak, you’d better be buckled in because the ride will take you on so many twists and turns you’ll be doubting what you think you know about nearly everything and everyone in this perfectly crafted historical suspense story.

DO NOT mistake that for a sluggish or boring beginning. “For sure and for certain,” Tromp has written an emotionally gripping cast of characters and possesses a true gift for southern dialogue. Despite Sam’s mental health issues that will leave you pondering what is real and what is only in his “mind’s eye,” I was cheering for him to get it all sorted out and at least discover a large enough portion of the man he was before the war so he could find peace in his own heart and with “his girls,” wife Annie and daughter Rosie. But many other challenges face Sam upon his return home including his wife, Annie, still haunted by the ghosts of her own abusive past at the hands of her father. His younger brother, Peter, who returned home much earlier from the war after losing his hand, seems to have taken his place as daddy to Rosie, and his best friend, Doc, appears to be a little too friendly with Annie. Not to mention that Hot Springs has become a hotbed of mob activity. And Sam, like the reader, is left to sort out what is real and what are figments of Sam’s battle fatigued imagination.

The whiplash from all the psychological twists is softened by the wit and wisdom of the utterly charming, Dovie May, Sam and Peter’s mother, who is determined to steer her son and daughter-in-law Annie toward one another and their faith, as their only hope to rebuild all the war has taken from them.

I listened to Shadows in the Mind’s Eye on Audible and was thoroughly delighted with this audio production. Sam and Annie’s voices were brought to life by narrators Matt Godfrey and Sandy Rustin who flawlessly captured the main characters’ southern dialect and drew me into the post-WWII era. If you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommend this Recorded Books production.

Although I received a copy of this book from I Read with Audra Book Tours, I also purchased this story on Audible. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“Happily ever after don’t happen lessen each person in a marriage works. It’s like a team of horses . . . They both have to carry their own load.” ~Dovie May

“The only way you see a miracle is to believe in them first.” ~Dovie May

Light sneaks through the broken places.” ~Dovie May

“Wasn’t no way of going forward if you’re stuck going backward.” ~Annie

We never want to travel beyond the point where everybody’s happy. But life’s everything after, and the question is, what are you going to do with the truth life drops in your lap?” (and dag gone it, I forgot to note who said this)

“You’d think  holding joy right up against sadness would shatter a body. But it don’t. Joy, it sneaks in all around, sticks everything together, and finds a way to make you whole.” ~Dovie May

“One thing I know for certain is that memory’s a slippery thing. It changes and morphs…It gets so that no one’s ever quite sure what actually happened.” ~Annie

“Trying to pin down the cost of your choices is more than a little like trying to figure out the height of your shadow.” ~Doc


Spiritual Takeaway

“…and sometimes God uses broken things to save us… Ain’t no light that can get through something solid. It sneaks through the broken places.”
~Dovie May

Broken…flawed…that is what so many of us are as are the characters in Shadows in the Mind’s Eye. Who doesn’t feel broken from the depth of depravity and utter lack of humanity we see in the world on a daily basis? Who among us hasn’t suffered a broken heart, lost a loved one, felt alone, unseen, or less than? In our human strength, we try to super glue the pieces back together, put on a brave face, and attempt to protect our wounded soul from further damage.

But there is tremendous value in being broken because it’s in those moments, and in those dark places where we feel the deepest fissures that Christ’s redemptive work on the cross does its healing work. It’s the brokenness that sends us searching Scripture for answers, that makes us cry out to a God we otherwise ignore, that brings us to our knees acknowledging that we can’t do it without Him. And, it’s the cracks in our broken shell that lets His light nurture our weary soul.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12


About the Author

Janyre Tromp (pronounced Jan-air) is a historical suspense novelist who loves spinning tales that, at their core, hunt for beauty, even when it isn’t pretty. She’s the author of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye and coauthor of It’s a Wonderful Christmas.

A firm believer in the power of an entertaining story, Tromp is also a book editor and published children’s book author. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, two kids, two crazy cats, and a slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog.

You can find her on Facebook (@JanyreTromp), Instagram (@JaynreTromp), Twitter (@JanyreTromp), and her website, www.JanyreTromp.com where you can download a free copy of her novella, Wide Open


Giveaway

The prize pack includes:

– A copy of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye
– A custom made silver peach tree necklace inspired by the book
– A “Light speaks through the broken places” t-shirt also inspired by the book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Counterfeit Love & a Giveaway

About the Book


Title: Counterfeit Love
Series Info: Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age, Book #1
Author: Crystal Caudill
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: Kregel Books; March 15, 2022; 336pp


Blurb

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancée is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill’s debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!

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My Thoughts

Wowza, what a debut!

I’ve been looking forward to reading Counterfeit Love and I wasn’t disappointed. Caudill has written a spell-binding historical mystery filled with plenty of conflict, danger, and intrigue that made it impossible to put down.

I loved the heroine, Theresa Plain. She’s very much like me—a strong, independent woman (that some like to call bull-headed and that may be appropriate at times. Ah-hem). I love that despite the obstacles placed in her way, Theresa won’t quit. Though her faith is challenged, she is a fighter.

And Broderick—what’s not to love about this swoon-worthy, badge wearing hero. I love that he has a strong moral compass and that despite how things look, he knows in his heart that Theresa can not who his boss suspects she is.

As a lover of all things history, I was thrilled with the historical accuracy of this novel. The author brought the neighborhoods and people of 1880s Cincinnati to life with realistic dialogue and vivid descriptions, including the historic floods of 1883 & 1884 and their devastating effects on the city. The story was impeccably researched and filled with rich historical details about law enforcement, counterfeiting, and the Secret Service during the Gilded Age.

Although I purchased a paper copy, when I saw the audio book narrator was Stephanie Cozart, one of my favorites, I decided to listen to the book as well. As I expected the narrator did a fabulous job setting the mood of the story and bringing the characters to life.

If you enjoy historical fiction with strong faith elements and a villain you won’t see coming, then I highly recommend Counterfeit Love!


Favorite Quotes

“I’m not some brittle piece of china that needs to be packed away and forgotten.” “No, you’re not. You’re a beautiful, independent woman who drives a man to distraction.”

She could do this. She could march into a man’s world and demand her place. She would command it, just like her Grandfather always had.

He couldn’t remain her any longer. If he had to crawl across the floor and up the stairs, he would make it to her.

Once committed, she would not turn back, an admirable quality and a terrible nuisance all at the same time.

“Fine. but just one cup, and then I’m going to see Nathaniel.” His teeth shone. Let him think he had won. She was getting chocolate and her way.

“No one, not even skunks like Drake or Grandfather’s partners, can chase me off. This is my home. My sole connection to family, and i dare anyone to remove me.”


Spiritual Takeaway

‘You and I have been trying to overcome our problems on our own, but that’s not how God wants it.
Sometimes he has to strip us of everything
even the illusion of control—for us to see our need for Him.’

That quote is the essence of the spiritual message behind Counterfeit Love.  The events of the story strip the main characters of every illusion they have of control and makes them realize that they are nothing without Christ. They learn to love and rely on God in new and deeper ways. I could so relate to Theresa and Broderick. I’ve been there and no matter how deep you dig, in the darkest seasons of life, we can’t go it alone—none of us can. Theresa and Broderick’s story is a great reminder that God is always with us, that He alone is our strength and our shield.


About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Crystal can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at crystalcaudill.com. Keep up with all of Crystal’s author happenings at:

Facebook     Facebook Reader Group     Instagram     Twitter     Goodreads     BookBub    Author Newsletter


Giveaway**
This giveaway is now CLOSED

Congratulations to our winner Kathy B!

I’m giving away one paperback copy of Counterfeit Love to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter the drawing, take this quick Counterfeit Love Character Quiz, then drop your character name in the comments. While on Crystal’s website, you might enjoy checking out additional Bonus Content about Counterfeit Love.

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Paper copy for US residents only. International winners will receive an eBook copy.

 

To Disguise the Truth & a Giveaway

About the Book


Title: To Disguise the Truth
Series Info: The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, Book #3
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: Bethany House Publisher/January 18, 2022/352 pages


Blurb

When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.

Arthur Livingston’s goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family–but he’s left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life–and the lives of those she loves–in jeopardy.

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My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Jen Turano’s books and To Disguise the Truth didn’t disappoint. Right from the fantastic opening line Turano drew me in and kept me turning the pages with the wit and charm of her very quirky but endearing characters.

Her most recent heroine, Eunice Holbrooke, was no exception. Unwilling to shed the Widow’s Weeds she has been wearing throughout the series, Eunice finds herself confronted with a man from her past when her newest potential client wants to hire the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to find HER!! Although Arthur Livingston’s appearance may seem a bit brash at first, he does have a heart of gold and turns out to be a perfect match for Turano’s feisty heroine.

Although you are sure to laugh out loud while reading this book, To Disguise the Truth, like all of Turano’s novels, sheds light on some aspect of history that readers may not be well-acquainted with. In this novel, the author examines the conditions inside mental asylums and how horribly easy it was for a woman to be committed during the nineteenth century when Eunice goes undercover on a case at the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum.

I loved that Turano incorporated all of the characters from the series, even if some had only a brief appearance on the page. What a fun way to wrap up the series.

I listened to this book on Audible and would like to say that the narrator, Andrea Emmes, did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life, especially Turano’s hilarious one-liners. If you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommend this series!

If you enjoy a light-hearted mystery filled with twists, turns, and plenty of witty banter, then you’re sure to be delighted with To Disguise the Truth.


Favorite Quotes

“Considering she’d once shot the man sitting across from her, Eunice Holbrooke was beginning to get the sneaking suspicion her past had finally caught with her.”

“It was rather astonishing how much one could apparently glean from reading a vast assortment of romance novels.”

“Eunice is not what anyone would consider normal.”

“…there’s something shifty about a bookstore owner who doesn’t sell Jane Austen.”

“The thought sprang to mind that she might have once again been a tad too direct, that idea reinforced when a blink of an eye later she found herself staring down the barrel of a pistol.”


About the Author

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, Colarado. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Connect with Jen:

Website     Facebook     Instagram     BookBub


Giveaway**

I’m giving away an eBook copy of To Disguise the Truth. Jen’s books are laugh out loud funny! To enter the giveaway, share a favorite quote from one of Jen’s books! If you’ve never read one of her books, tell me which of the quotes above tickles your funny bone the most.

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

Interview with Kathleen Denly & a Giveaway

Hello Friends,

I’m sorry for the long hiatus. I hope everyone had a very bookish Christmas! Mine was spent reading—big surprise I’m sure! One of those books was Harmony on the Horizon and today I’m thrilled to introduce you to the author, Kathleen Denly. You can read my review here.

Kathleen is graciously giving away an eBook copy to one Romancing History visitor so make sure to see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.


About Kathleen

Kathleen Denly writes historical romance to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. Award winning author of the Chaparral Hearts series, she also shares history tidbits, thoughts on writing, books reviews and more at KathleenDenly.com. 

Kathleen lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, one dog, and nine cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Connect with Kathleen:
Website | Newsletter | FB Author Page | FB Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon

About the Book

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

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Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats? Cats!!! We have nine. (NINE???)
  2. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth (Excellent choice!)
  3. Kindle, Audiobook, or Paperback? Audiobook. I love the smell of paper and kindle is crazy convenient, but after a long day of writing or marketing, I’m ready to rest my eyes. Plus I can listen while doing other things. (I prefer Audio books too!)
  4. Run, Bike, Hike, or Swim? Running & Hiking. I can’t pick. Both feed my soul.
  5. Dark or Milk chocolate? Milk! Dark is icky. ;)cAuthor Interview with Kathleen Denly

RH: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in?

KD: I write historical Christian romance set in nineteenth century America, with a special focus on California. My hope is to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our God and how he sees us.

I have been writing in some form or another for almost as long as I can remember. However, I didn’t begin writing my first novel until high school and didn’t start taking my writing seriously until after the birth of my third child in 2010.

My debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness, book 1 of my Chaparral Hearts series was published by Wild Heart Books and released on February 4, 2020.  I have three novels and one novella currently available for readers, with three more full-length novels and one more novella in the works. All of these are part of the Chaparral Hearts series, although each can be read as a stand-alone novel. All of my novels are published by Wild Heart Books, but I indie-publish my novellas. The Chaparral Hearts prequel novella, Ribbons & Beaus, is currently available for free to my newsletter subscribers. I hope to have the second novella available by fall 2022 and plan to also provide it free to my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club Members.

RH: Wow, you’ve been a very busy author. I look forward to reading some of your other titles. Can up share something unusual about yourself? Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky?

KD: It drives me crazy when people dig a gouge in a tub of food. For example, margarine, peanut butter, ice cream, jam…all of these should be scraped across the top when retrieving your portion. The result should be a relatively smooth surface left behind instead of craters that resemble the surface of the moon. LOL I have no idea where I picked up this bizarre pet peeve, but it was worse in high school. Back then, I would actually spend time smoothing out the damage others had caused and, if serving myself, would just keep scooping ice cream until the surface was level. You can imagine that this resulted in some larger-than-my-stomach portions. These days I mostly roll my eyes, grumble under my breath, and move on. But it still bugs me.

RH: Oh dear, good to know in case we ever get to meet for lunch! LOL! Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

KD: I was directing a children’s play at our church and my (now) husband volunteered to help build the props. This was a very large church that I’d only been attending for about a year, so we hadn’t met until this moment. It’s actually a very humorous memory because my first thought on meeting him was, “Not my type.” And I was in a phase where I’d sworn off dating. LOL! A few weeks later, a mutual friend pointed out that he and I had been flirting during our college group Bible study and I vehemently protested. I wasn’t flirting. We were just being friendly and having fun. Right? Right? Wait. Ummm. Yeah. LOL! I ended up fasting for a week in search of God’s guidance. Long story short, we just celebrated our twentieth anniversary and I’m more in love with this man than ever.

RH: Awww, such a cute story! Thanks for sharing! Which three words describe the type of fiction you write?

KD: Entertaining, encouraging, inspiring. 😉 At least, that’s my hope.

RH: What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

KD: Sometimes knowing how they’d react to a specific situation can be tricky. So I usually consult my hubby on those. Also, their scenes take more editing since most men are less verbose than my typical writing style. So I usually need to go back and rephrase things with fewer words in the scenes that are in a male’s POV. Then again, that can be true of any character. I usually write the scenes one way and then go back and tweak them to fit each character’s unique voice. That was triple true with Katie in Harmony on the Horizon since she is a first generation American who grew up in an uneducated, low-class, family from Northern England and thus has a very unique dialect.

RH: What was the inspiration behind Harmony on the Horizon?

KD: During a field trip with my kids to visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, we were given a tour of the Mason Street Schoolhouse originally built in 1865 (since been moved & rebuilt twice, but is now at its original location). During that tour, the docent shared the story of the Mary Chase Walker scandal. In essence, Mary, a northern teacher wound up in the southern-sympathizing town of San Diego on the heels of the Civil War. Through the choice to dine with a mixed-race woman, Mary infuriated many parents who then refused to send their children to class. Ephraim Morse was one of three members on the board of trustees at the time who were faced with the parents’ demands that she be fired. A meeting was held but we do not know the results of that meeting due to the records being lost in a later fire. What we do know is that by the end of the month, Mary was no longer teaching. She moved on to tutor children in a local family and Ephraim began courting her. Shortly thereafter they were married.

As soon as I heard this story, my writer’s brain kicked in and I knew I needed to do something with it. Thus, Harmony on the Horizon is inspired by, but not based on, the Mary Chase Walker Scandal. My characters, Margaret and Everett, are not meant to represent Mary and Ephraim. Rather, I used the framework of the true-life events to carry my own characters through their journey. I stuck as close as possible to the known facts of the true story, while filling in the blanks as I believed my characters would in the given situation.

RH: It’s always so interesting to hear how authors get their story sparks. Do you have a favorite quote from Harmony on the Horizon you’d like to share?

KD: “Even now the memory of her hearty laugh over dinner tugged a smile from his lips and tempted him to disregard the caution of reason, to forsake his ambitions for more time in her presence.”

RH: Sigh, that’s one of my favorites, too. It gives you all the “feels.” What scene in Harmony on the Horizon was the hardest to write? Why?

KD: Katie’s scenes were both the most fun and the most challenging to write because of who she is. As I mentioned above, she is not only uneducated, but her family is from a part of Northern England known as Cumbria. If you’d like to know how utterly unintelligible some of their speech can sound to foreign ears, search “Cumbrian dialect” on YouTube. I bought an entire dictionary and listened to hours upon hours of native speakers in order to understand Katie’s dialect as best I could. Then I needed to keep in mind that Katie was not raised in Northern England, but in America. So that had an influence on her voice as well. I then had to tone her dialect down enough for English readers to not feel like they needed a translator to understand her scenes. At one point I seriously considered including a glossary at the front of the novel. But in the end, I wanted Katie’s dialect to enhance, not distract from, the story. So I toned her dialect down even more. Just getting Katie’s scenes right doubled the length of time I spent in the editing phase. Hopefully I found that balance between showing her uniqueness and making her understandable.

RH: I really enjoyed Katie’s dialect and think you struck the right balance. I could hear her clearly in my head. Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

KD: Ha ha. I’m beginning to feel like I’m only talking about Katie, even though Margaret is the primary heroine of Harmony on the Horizon. But I have been hearing from readers that they connect with Katie because of the incredible difficulties she overcomes and the strength of her relationship with God. One reviewer even said that she wanted to be more like Katie.

RH: What a great compliment to  your writing! I liked Katie as well and her determination to triumph over adversity. Excellent life lesson! What do you hope readers will take away after reading Harmony on the Horizon?

KD: Life is messy, people are complicated, and there is no new sin under the sun. Don’t be quick to be offended or quick to judge, consider that there are layers to each person which we cannot see or know. Always hope for the best and never give up trying to make this world a better place—but don’t strive in your own strength. Look to God for guidance in both your deeds and words.

RH: That is an excellent reminder, Kathleen. Our human nature is usually quick to judge others. What are you working on now?

KD: I am currently working on a second novella for my Chaparral Hearts series which I’m hoping to offer free to my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club Members in Fall 2022. But soon I’ll begin writing the fourth full-length novel for the same series which will be published by Wild Heart Books and is scheduled to release in 2023.

RH: Congratulations on all your upcoming projects. Thanks for visiting today, Kathleen. It’s been wonderful to get to know you a little better! I wish much success with Harmony on the Horizon!


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Teri DiVincenzo!

Kathleen mentioned the great length of detail she undertook to make sure Katie’s Cumbrian dialect sounded authentic. To enter the drawing for an eBook copy of Harmony on the Horizon, tell us if you enjoy reading dialects in fiction. Do you like them? Why or why not?

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, February 9, 2022.**

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy & a Giveaway

About the Book


Title: Every Word Unsaid
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Kimberly Duffy
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Info: Bethany House Publisher/November 3, 2021/358 pages


Blurb

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.

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My Thoughts

Every Word Unsaid is another excellent novel by Kimberly Duffy. The story gripped me from the opening scene with vivid descriptions and luxurious prose and never let me go. Page after page, Duffy brings the setting to life from dusty Deadwood, South Dakota, to the plague-ridden streets of Pune, India. Skeptical? Try this snippet and tell me it doesn’t make you want to read this book.

“America, with its youthful zeal and brazen thirst, whispered a sonnet to Gussie’s heart. But India sang, her voice a thunderous roar, to the percussion of drums. It reached inside her and wrestled with the accusations that had chased her across the ocean.”

The heroine, Augusta (Gussie) Travers, wants to shrug off the restraints of New York society and be a travel photographer. Her family indulges her temporarily, hoping the urge will pass, if she keeps her identity secret. When she is outed to New York Society on her sister’s wedding day, the ensuing scandal sends her to India, far away from the gossip but not from the unkind and often cruel words that her family have spoken over her which plague Gussie’s memory. In India, she reconnects with her childhood friends, Catherine and Gabriel. I loved Gabriel. I loved that their romance was a slow, steady burn built on a solid foundation of friendship. The romance is there but not as integral to the story as this romance lover would have preferred. If I must find fault with Every Word Unsaid, it would be that I would have enjoyed scenes from Gabriel’s point of view. His unconditional love and acceptance are integral to Gussie’s journey of self-acceptance.

I admired Gussie’s spunk and determination to follow her dreams. She is a strong yet complicated heroine who is not only independent but also shackled to the discouraging words spoken over her by her family who wish her to conform to their expectations. These words cause her to doubt her talent and Gussie struggles to believe she can use the gift God has given her to its fullest potential. When Gussie arrives in India, she has the opportunity not only to show the beauty of an exotic land through her Kodak lens, but her images can show simplicity, pain, sorrow, compassion, strength, poverty, disease, suffering, and resilience. It can transport people to another time and place where they can learn to think about the world beyond themselves not simply admire its beautiful landscapes. Through it all, Gussie learns God has given her a unique talent and an audience whereby she can make a difference by sharing the honesty of the human experience—both good and bad.

Some of the reviews I read for Every Word Unsaid seemed to think the heroine too selfish, and her catharsis too minimal. I would have to politely disagree. First, I like flawed characters. They seem realistic and relatable and look whole lot more like myself and those around me. These are the characters and stories that bid me to look deeper inside myself, to examine my own heart. and in the end, strengthen my faith. Second, while the heroine undoubtedly made some selfish decisions throughout the story, Gussie grew and changed emotionally and spiritually. God used the people she met and the experiences she had in India to widen her perspective, to soften her heart. She learns compassion and understanding. Isn’t that all we can ask of others, of ourselves—that we learn, grow, and change for the better by the end of our own stories?

I cannot end this review without a mention of the strong cast of secondary characters Duffy brings to the page. From the endearing Uncle James, who I kept hoping would choose to stay with Gussie in India, to her mentors Bimla and Ramabai—each brought life and depth to the story. They seemed to innately understand her emotional wounds while gently challenging Gussie to step from the shadows into the woman God had created her to be.

Five enthusiastic stars to Every Word Unsaid!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Pulishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“Stop running from the things God has called you to because you’re afraid of what other’s will think.” ~Ramabai

“Don’t let what people say define you.” ~Uncle James

“There is beauty in loving those who cannot love you back . . . No one chooses not to love. Their own scars, their own brokenness, prevents them from sharing what God has given so freely.” ~Bimla

And from the Dedication page, “A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret.” ~Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati


Spiritual Takeaway

Gussie is a deeply wounded character. She takes with her the scars and brokenness of “never being enough” for the people in her life, especially her family (with the sole exception of Uncle James). I could relate to Gussie who struggled to get unkind words spoken to her out of her head. Words have the power to lift us up or tear us down, and the most dangerous ones are the ones we repeat in our own mind every day. As the story unfolds, Gussie learns to cast off her emotional wounds and not allow the hurtful words from her past define her. As her friend and mentor, Bimla, tells her, “Nothing anyone else says or believes of me can diminish my value—that my worth is found in Christ and He is meant for everyone, even those who mistreated me.” Every Word Unsaid brings a powerful reminder that we have eternal value not because of what we do or say, or because other’s have a favorable opinion of us, but because Christ purchased us with his shed blood on the cross. That is what completes, what makes us ‘enough.’


About the Author

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind.

You can find Kimberly at:

Her Website     Facebook     Instagram     BookBub


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Jeanne Crea!

I’m giving away an eBook copy of Every Word Unsaid. To enter tell me your thoughts about flawed characters—like ’em or hate ’em? Do you like to read more light-hearted fare?

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, December 1st, 2021.

To Write a Wrong Book Review & Giveaway

About the Book


Title:  To Write a Wrong
Series Info: Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency Book #2
Author: Jen Turano
Genre:Historical Romance

Book Info: (Bethany House Publishers, August 3rd, 2021, 364 pages


Blurb

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she’s determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne’s way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

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My Thoughts

I’ve been looking forward to the second installment of The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency as soon as I was introduced to Daphne Beekman as a secondary character in the previous book of this series, To Steal a Heart. Daphne is a writer of mysteries who pens her stories as Montague Morland because it was considered quite unseemly for a woman to be a novelist, especially in that genre during the Gilded Age.

Daphne is my kind of heroine. From her typewriter she named Almira (because I name all my cars and other favorite gadgets), to her love of the written word (self-explanatory), not to mention she detests the morning physical fitness routine the inquiry agents are participating in to improve their stamina so they can peruse culprits who might be able to overpower them (I don’t like to sweat). Unlike Daphne, I’m not prone to swooning in the face of danger. Though truth-be-told, I haven’t really been put to the test.  I know the wit and cleverness hiding beneath her timid exterior will endear her to every reader.

Turano wrote the perfect hero for Daphne as well. Enter Herman Henderson, a well known writer of adventure stories whose private life is rather dull in his opinion—until he meets Daphne. When Herman hires The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to discover who is trying to kill him, Daphne and Herman’s paths become intertwined. Herman wound himself around my heart as soon as he entered the story. He is a quiet, mild-mannered and utterly charming hero who manages to save Daphne from more than one troublesome situation she lands herself in. Herman is a true gentleman that is very worthy of Daphne and the witty banter between the two was engaging and kept me turning the pages.

Like most of Turano’s books, the reader is hit with a subtle yet powerful message about the limited choices women had during the Gilded Age. Several of the female characters, including Daphne, felt powerless against men who believed they could control them. Not family members, but men who insisted on marrying or taking liberties with the ladies, without their consent. Men who thought the ladies should consider themselves lucky to have their attention. I like how Daphne, and the other ladies to a lesser extent, stood up for themselves. They were able to see the facade these men showed the public and refused to be swayed by power, wealth, or position.

As with all Jen Turano books, I smiled, shook my head at the unbelievable antics of her quirky characters, and at times just laughed out loud. To Write a Wrong is another lovely gem in Jen Turano’s crown as the Queen of the Christian historical Rom-Com.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, but wasn’t required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“You’ve annoyed me several times already and we’ve only just met.”

“My nerves seem to become less questionable when I’m in disguise.”

“Honestly, Daphne, maybe I should consider holding these lessons later in the day because clearly your mind is a scary place to visit first thing in the morning.”

“And here’s when I feel compelled to point out that you do indeed possess an adventurous spirit, because racing after a woman is an adventure if there ever was one.”

“…at times she longed to share her love of the written word with someone who loved words as well, someone who wouldn’t mock her for choosing a profession that wasn’t considered acceptable for women…”


About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

She can be found on Facebook, Instagram or visit her on the web . She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.


Giveaway**

**This Giveaway is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Rochelle!

I’m giving away a Kindle copy of To Write a Wrong to one lucky Romancing History visitor. Previously, I’ve asked you about your favorite among Jen’s many noteworthy heroines. This time, let’s chat about those heroes. Who stands out as a favorite for you?

 **This giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, August 18, 2021.**

Book Review: The Heart’s Charge by Karen Witemeyer & a Giveaway!

About the Book


Title: The Heart’s Charge
Series: Hanger’s Horsemen, Book #2

Author: Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Info: Bethany House Publishers,     June 1, 2021, 381 pages


Blurb

For Years They’ve Been Nomads for Justice, but a Final Mission May Just Lead Their Hearts Home.

Members of the legendary Hanger’s Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they’d help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society’s mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes–ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

CBD    Barnes & Noble   Amazon


My Thoughts

Karen Witemeyer’s books keep getting better and better! Just call me a sucker for handsome, strong, godly soldier types. I wasn’t sure about reading a story with four points of view. I wondered if one of the couples would take center stage while the other lingered in the background but that wasn’t the case with The Heart’s Charge. Both Jonah and Eliza’s story line, as well as Mark and Kate’s, were well-developed, compelling romances nestled in a mystery about missing children. And I didn’t see the culprit coming either!

I also want to give Witemeyer a shout out for writing such endearing children. Oftentimes children in romance novels are just underfoot and underdeveloped characters. Not so in The Heart’s Charge. Kate and Eliza run a home for Foundling Children and these sweet children, especially Abner, stole my heart. The boxcar children, orphan boys who ride the rails, were also well thought out characters that added to the story.

With The Heart’s Charge, Witemeyer delivers another solid dose of scriptural truth, humor, mystery, and romance that is sure to delight every reader. My only complaint was I wanted more of Matthew and Josie Hanger and Preach from book one.

I’m definitely looking forward to book number three in the Hanger’s Horseman series!


Favorite Quotes

“But if each man and woman were defined solely by their greatest sin, what hope would there be for any of us?”

“Regrets are heavy, son. The fewer you carry around the better off you’ll be. But when they come, and they will, remember you got a Father who will carry them for you if you let him.”

“God don’t need fancy words,” Jonah encouraged, “just true ones.”


About the Author

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Recently voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a two-time winner of the ACFW Carol Award and three-time RITA® finalist. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

Facebook     Website     Pinterest     BookBub     GoodReads


Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Lori Smanski!

I’m giving away a Kindle copy of The Heart’s Charge to one commenter. To enter, tell us your favorite Karen Witemeyer book!

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Thursday, June 24th

Book Review, A Tapestry of Light and a Giveaway!

About the Book


Title: A Tapestry of Light
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Kimberly Duffy
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Info: Bethany House Publishers, March 16, 2021, 433 pages 


Blurb

In 1886 Calcutta, Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon the skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger named Everett Scott appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in a cold, foreign land.

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My Thoughts

What. A. Book!

I was completely enchanted by A Tapestry of Light. Duffy does an excellent job bringing the sights and sounds of colonial India to life. Through crowded streets, lush gardens, and the scent of Indian spices, I was transported to another world. Beautifully woven with a sprinkle of Hindi words and customs, we see 19th century India through, Duffy’s heroine, Ottilie Russell, a young woman of Eurasian (Indian & British) descent.

Ottilie is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. As her story begins, she is swept up in a tragedy that brings the vivid memories of losing her father and two sisters to cholera years earlier. Ottilie relies on her talent to embroider with iridescent beetle wings to support her family. Apparently this was a fashion craze in the 1800s and I’d never heard of it, so I looked it up. As you can see, It’s just lovely. I’ve had no idea those were the casings for beetle wings, would you?

https://doxiequeen1.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/dsc_3810-2.jpg?w=820&h=312&crop=1

Ottlie is guarded and fiercely protective of her only two remaining family members, her younger brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother. While this may shy some readers away, I urge you to read on. Who hasn’t suffered in this world? Who hasn’t wondered where God is when the circumstances of their life overwhelm them? If our faith is so fragile that we cannot voice our doubts in our grief or despair and come out stronger on the other side, like Ottilie, I would question how strong it was in the first place.

Just like in her debut, A Mosaic of Wings, Duffy has once again created characters that leapt off the page into my heart. The story is told through Ottilie’s perspective, yet the entire cast of secondary characters were well thought out and developed. They were my friends and I was sorry to part with them when the story ended. Even the antagonists recognized their flawed thinking and seek forgiveness by novel’s end. But it was Everett Scott, Ottilie’s friend and eventual romantic interest, that took my heart by storm. Everett is a kind, honorable man, with a strong faith, who never looks down on Ottilie because she is of Eurasian heritage. As feelings grow between them, Everett is torn between the woman he loves and the responsibility he feels to carry on his father’s business and make him proud, thus redeeming himself from the sordid details of his own ancestry. But in order to do that, he needs a proper British wife, the kind that can open the right doors for him. Despite the fact I  wanted to shake him at times for putting societal expectations above his growing feelings for Ottilie, Everett is one of my favorite heroes of the year. This flaw only made him more realistic, not only as a man of his era, but as a human being who needed to grow and be stretched. Seeing Everett open his heart to God, to allow God to prune him, and him being willing to let go of what he thought he’d always wanted, made Everett’s journey all the more satisfying.

And Duffy doesn’t shy away from tough topics like prejudice and racism. As a white woman living in one of America’s most affluent counties, I really appreciated the opportunity to see the world through Ottilie’s eyes. Although both her and her brother are Eurasian, Duffy shows the disparity between the way people treated her because she looked Indian where as Thaddeus looked British (white). She never felt fully accepted by either culture in India, but when she arrived in Britain, she felt alone and alienated in her own home, while her brother was touted as the next heir of Hazelbrook Manor. Her search for belonging, to be accepted for who she was, not what she appeared to be, is a theme I find especially relevant for today’s historical fiction reader.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“You must look deeper beneath what a person shows. There is always a story. Things are never what they seem.”

“…since I arrived in London, I’ve learned family is made up of more than those related by blood. And before I left India, Dilip told me that home was never supposed to be a place. It is the people.”

“You’re not anything like I imagined, but so much more than I’d hoped for.”

“People will always see what’s easiest to understand.”


About the Author

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. Her first novel was the highly acclaimed A Mosaic of Wings. You can find Kimberly at www.kimberlyduffy.com.

 


    Giveaway*

**This giveaway is now closed.**

Congratulations to our winner, Megan!

I’ll be giving away one paperback copy of A Tapestry of Light to one lucky Romancing History winner. To enter, let’s chat about exotic settings in novels. I must admit that India wasn’t high on my list of places to travel but now I really want to visit this country that Duffy has brought to life in her first two books. What book has made you want to travel to another city or country? Why?

**Giveaway ends midnight, Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Book Review, To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano

2020 has been a difficult year for most of us but I’m delighted to bring you my thoughts on the latest release from author Jen Turano. To Steal a Heart is book 1 in her new series, The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency. And folks, this romp through the Gilded Age is just what my weary heart needed.

I hope my review inspires you to pick up a copy or two and gift them to your reader friends. Believe me, they’ll thank you especially if they are fans of clever, witty historical romance.

Here’s a little bit about the book before I share my review.


About the Book

Title: To Steal a Heart
Series Info: Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, Book 1
Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Info:  Bethany House Pubishers, November 17, 2020, 363 pages


Blurb

To Steal a Heart (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency Book #1) by [Jen Turano]

After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

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My Thoughts

I was completely giddy about starting a new Jen Turano series and To Steal a Heart didn’t disappoint. The book grabbed me from the opening line: “It was becoming evident that she, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, might very well be arrested in the not-too-distant future, and all because she’d convinced herself that sneaking into a high-society costume ball would be a relatively easy feat, given her past life as a street thief.”

When Gabriella is reunited with childhood friend Nicholas, the chemistry between the pair is immediately evident. Although the romantic tension is palpable, both resist the attraction due primarily to their different positions in society. I love Gabriella. She is a smart, strong woman but learns that it’s okay to accept help on occasion. I think Nicholas maybe my favorite Turano hero yet. I loved how he used his wealth and position to help many of the people from Five Points. I gushed when he gut-punched one of the characters after he said disparaging things about Gabriella.

Set in the Gilded Age among the glitterati of the New York Four Hundred, Gabriella and the other women of the boardinghouse where she resides open the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency. As the ladies investigate one mystery after another, hilarity abounds. The cast of characters adds to the humor and shenanigans in this story. My favorite secondary character was Daphne Beekman. She’s an author of mysteries who seems afraid of her own shadow and is always taking notes and thinking about her next story. However, the people were nearly upstaged by lovesick Wilson the pirate dog and a kleptomaniac parrot who can’t resist the urge to swipe shiny, sparkling objects.

Although Turano is known for her hilarious jaunts through the Gilded Age, the faith message in Gabriella’s story was not lost on me. Her childhood was rough, and she lived on the streets eventually ending up in an orphanage. She came to believe that God had forgotten all about her. As the circumstances of the story unfold, she realizes that God had provided for her all along and was an excellent reminder to me of how our loving Father is always working behind the scenes for our good.

To Steal a Heart is filled with love, laughter, intrigue, faith, romance, and plenty of antics to keep you turning the pages. Without a doubt, this is my favorite Jen Turano book yet!

I was a given a free copy of this book by the publisher but was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“You’ve always been confident of who you are and what you want. Isn’t that how we should all be as children of the King?”

“God might not have abandon me after all but sent me to Rookwood to keep me safe.”


About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

 

Book Review: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

About the Book


Title: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Genre: Time Slip

Book Info:  Bethany House Pubishers, September 1, 2020, 400 pages


Blurb

Welcome to Bonaventure Circus where misfits come to hide.

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

                           Amazon          B&N         CBD


My Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to read a Jaime Jo Wright novel for quite some time and have nearly, if not all of them on my bookshelf or Kindle, but honestly, the title and cover of this book drew me in and thrust it to the top of my TBR pile.

As a lover of historical fiction, Wright captured my imagination and interest immediately with life in a 1920s circus as seen through the eyes of the disabled circus owner’s adopted daughter, Pippa. As Pippa grows increasingly curious about the circumstances surrounding her birth and adoption, she is drawn to the Watchman and deeper into the forbidden, secret and very dangerous world of the Bonaventure circus.

The contemporary thread introduces us to Chandler Faulk, a single mom with a demanding career who is struggling with Chronic Lyme disease. As Chandler works to renovate the old circus depot, she learns about a series of murders that occurred around the circus during its heyday in the late 1920s and accidentally stumbles onto clues that may shed light on who had actually committed them.

I found both the modern-day and historical mysteries thrilling, and Wright had me guessing to the end who the murderer actually was. I can honestly say, I hadn’t seen that coming!

I really liked both of these heroines. I give Wright great kudos for writing both of them with difficult physical disabilities that provided many challenges for them throughout the story. The two women also shared an intense inner struggle to be seen and heard, to figure out who they are. As the novel developed, each realized that their journey was really one of self-acceptance and to fully embrace themselves the way God created them, flaws and all.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“You’re enough, Pippa. You’ve always been enough.”

“Sometimes God brought peace in the most unusual and outside-the-norm ways.”


About the Author

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of five novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. She loves to read—and write—fiction with elements of mystery, faith, and romance. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap’n Hook; and their littles, Peter Pan and CoCo. To learn more, visit her website.

 

 

 

 

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