The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

Winner of the Gift Cards: The winner of the $25 Baker Bookhouse gift card from the Class of 2021 post giveaway, is Amy (amy****9@****.com)! Congratulations! Please check your email! The winner of the $15 Get the Word Out Giveaway is sweets (sweets*****@hotmail.com). Please check your email!

 

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

by Michelle Griep

Y’all, this book. 😍😍😍😍 I finally was able to step away from responsibilities long enough to finish it. You have to buy a copy. It is the perfect delicious mix of danger, mystery, history, romance, and God’s perfect love. I have long been a “super-fan” of Michelle Griep, and guys it was such a blessed relief to sink into another one of her amazing stories. No matter how crazy the world turns, I can always count on her books to leave me satisfied and hopeful. 💕 This one was no different. You don’t want to miss her way with words and ability to transport you back in time. I seriously want to write like her one day. 


Genre: Historical Romance, April 1885, City of London, England

Plot Overview: 

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

What I loved: I probably shouldn’t put everything. I think what sets a Michelle Griep book apart from any other is her complete ability to sink you into the world and character. I absolutely loved running around City of London with two fantastic, unique, strong characters. It is a story I intend to go back and study the “how she did it” aspect after I finish my rough draft of book two.

Favorite Character and Why: Jackson and Kit were such an amazing pair. Jackson wasn’t my typical hero type at first, but I really grew to love and respect him. He really does have a heart of gold. And Kit. Wow! What a woman to grow up on the streets and become who and what she was in the story. I loved them both individually and together. 

Who would like this? Those who have a love of gothic type mysteries, Victorian romances filled with danger, love, and hope. 

Rating and Why: Five stars. It was such an exciting adventure with imagery, emotions, and characters I want to revisit over and over and over again.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. The above opinions are my own and are in no way influenced.* (And yes, I even purchased my own extra copy. I always do with a Michelle Griep book.)

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Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch

Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch

Wonders of His Love

by Erica Vetsch

This month I am reviewing each novella from the Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection. First up was Carolyn Miller’s “Heaven and Nature Sing,” followed by “Far as the Curse is Found” by Amanda Barratt.

The final novella is “Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch. This novella would be considered a part of her Serendipity and Secrets series and will be best enjoyed if you have read the first two books in the series: The Lost Lieutenant and The Gentleman Spy. Even if you have not read the previous stories, you will enjoy the story of a widow finding herself anew while under the thumb of her deceased husband’s mother with the help of a Scottish painter. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the story. The dialect of Hamish was well done and so enjoyable, and the struggle between the strength and timidity of Cilla was something you cheered her on through. I truly loved the sweetness of this story as Cilla and Hamish privately deal with their growing feelings for one another. There are so many tender moments in this story, it brings a smile to my face just thinking of them. This definitely falls under the light-hearted and sweet while still dealing with the true-to-life struggles of finding your worth aside from the opinions of others. I highly recommend this story for those looking for something with sweetness mixed with a little bit of meat. The lessons learned by these characters are ones that you will chew on even after you finish reading.


Genre: Historical Romance, England, 1816

Plot Overview:

A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart.

What I loved: I loved Cilla’s dance between pleasing others and finding one’s self and desires. Perhaps it is because I’ve long struggled with being a people pleaser and determining when to step up for my needs, even when it disappoints those I love. Cilla’s struggle felt real and personal to me.

Favorite Character and Why: Oh, sweet Hamish! I love his artistic touch, sweet heart, and struggle to find his self-worth. And his dialect was something that made me smile every time it was used. It was masterfully done without being burdensome to the reader. Absolutely delightful.

Rating and Why: Five Stars. I truly enjoy the Serendipity and Secrets series. It was such a joy to return to those characters and find that the true-to-life struggles of each character were not diminished by the shortness of the story.

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“Far as the Curse is Found” by Amanda Barratt

“Far as the Curse is Found” by Amanda Barratt

Far as the Curse is Found

by Amanda Barrat

This month I am reviewing each novella from the Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection. First up was Carolyn Miller’s “Heaven and Nature Sing.”

Today’s novella, “Far as the Curse if Found” by Amanda Barratt does not disappoint. While the tone and material is darker and less light-hearted than the other two, the characters in this story are probably my favorite. This story tends to feel more gothic in the reading because of the brokenness of the main characters, but the hope and love found within these chapters stick with you for a long time. Both the hero and hero carry scars–some visible, some not. It is a story that pulled at my heart-strings. In some ways, it reminded me of a Beauty and the Beast story–the disfigured recluse is changed by a woman who comes to live in his house and under his protection. The way the characters affect each other and come to life under each other’s influence makes me smile even now, more than a week after reading it. This story probably isn’t for everyone–it isn’t your typical light-hearted, sweet Christmas romance–but I definitely loved it. The characters are real. They struggle and need redemption. These characters are the type of people my heart breaks for and long to show the love of Christ to. Read it, you won’t regret it.


Genre: Historical Romance, England, 1816

Plot Overview:

One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?

What I loved: I loved the characters and their struggles. Maybe it’s because I’m working through my own story with broken characters in need of redemption, but the characters really touched my soul and evoked strong emotions.

Favorite Character and Why: Dwight, hands down. My heart was wrapped up in this man who hurt and struggled to move beyond the past. He had such an amazing heart, and I hurt for him. He struggled, grew, and changed the most throughout the story, and I love him for it.

Rating and Why: Five Stars. It was exactly the type of story I love to read. It contained a depth of emotion and truth that I haven’t often found in Christmas novellas. May authors err on the side of happy and upbeat, but Amanda Barratt tackled a tough story that shows the true beauty of Christmas.

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“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller – Joy to the World Novella Collection

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller – Joy to the World Novella Collection

Heaven and Nature Sing

by Carolyn Miller

Thanksgiving and Christmas are a busy season, so for the next three weeks, I am going to be reviewing each novella from the Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection.

First up is Carolyn Miller’s “Heaven and Nature Sing.” May I say this was just an absolute joy to read? There were elements that hearken back to Pride and Prejudice without being a retelling of it. I delighted in all the characters, the Christmas traditions, and the sneaky plans of friends and family to reunite two people who love each other. It gave me all the feels and joy of Christmas. I simply adored it and look forward to reading the next two novellas in the collection.

Fans of Jane Austen, second chance love, and Christmas romances will devour this story in one sitting. I know I did.


Genre: Historical Romance, England, 1813

Plot Overview:

Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?

But Christmas in the country presents unforeseen surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled . . . and determined to have nothing to do with him.

What I loved: I really loved the sweet, light-hearted aspect of this story. It truly was reminiscent of Jane Austen, and who can go wrong with that. The second chance at love was filled with lots of sweetness.

 

Favorite Character and Why: Where would a story be without the meddling god-mother? LOL I truly loved all her conniving and pushing.

 

Rating and Why: Five Stars. It was just such a fun, light little read that I slipped into for a few blissful hours and was not ready to rejoin the chaotic world afterward.

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An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

An Ivy Hill Christmas

by Julie Klassen

I’m on a Christmas story binge, and this one happens to be our Online Historical Romance Book Club selection for December. Fans of Pride and Prejudice and Emma will find parallels to those beloved stories. Some scenes and lines felt like they were taken straight from those Jane Austen novels and placed into this story at just the right moments. It was a story of transformation but light on the romance. There were several scenes that were definitely on the *sigh, that was so sweet* moments, but I was left wishing more time had been spent on the romance.

This was not my favorite of Julie Klassen’s books, but I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more if I had read the other book(s) connected to Ivy Hill. There were lots of connections I felt sure had more meaning and left me wondering who they were. So if you dive into this book, I highly recommend reading the others first. If you do, let me know what I missed out on.

I would recommend this story to fans of Jane Austen, reformed rakes, and messy families.


Genre: Historical Romance, England, 1822

Plot Overview:

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

But Christmas in the country presents unforeseen surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled . . . and determined to have nothing to do with him.

Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, joyous songs, and divine hope, work its magic in his heart . . . and hers as well?

What I loved: I loved all the nods to Pride and Prejudice, and watching Richard’s relationship with others change.

Favorite Character and Why: It’s a tie between Wally and Jamie Fletcher. I love how Richard dressed the dog to look like him, and Jamie was just a sweet kid.

Rating and Why: Three Stars. I struggled with the writing style this time, and I just couldn’t sink into the characters. I enjoyed the story, but there were chunks of details I skimmed over.

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The Christmas Husband by Lucette Nel

The Christmas Husband by Lucette Nel

The Christmas Husband

by Lucette Nel

It’s November, which means my Christmas binge of novellas has begun. First up on my TBR pile was this newest release from Lucette Nel. The Christmas Husband is my favorite of her stories so far. For one, Benedict (the hero) is a Brit, and who doesn’t love a swoony Brit? 😉 Bless his soul, this poor man stumbles into a mess and does the merciful thing, even though it is a detriment to him. Naomi is a mother just trying to do the best she can for her daughter. Who knew that one little lie to appease her daughter would end so disastrously?

I adore the interactions between Benedict, Naomi, and Elise. This twist on a marriage of convenience story will have you chuckling, swooning, and hoping for love as you speed through the pages while trying to savor every interaction.

I recommend this story to fans of marriage-of-convenience, misunderstandings, sweet romance, and ready-made families. This story will leave you with all sorts of warm fuzzies and happy sighs.


Genre: Historical Romance, Texas, 1885

Plot Overview:

It was one little lie told only to protect impoverished Naomi Stuart and her daughter. But when Benedict Ramsay — a man she met fleetingly years before who should be in England — arrives in town, all she’d carefully constructed threatens to crumble.

Benedict arrives a stranger in Noelle, hoping to confront the father who’d abandoned him. What he did not expect was to discover he was a married man … to a woman he didn’t even remember meeting. And against his will, Benedict warms to the idea of a ready-made family.

What I loved: This is an adorable story. I loved all the feels it gave me, but I especially loved the dynamics between Naomi, Elise, and Benedict. That man was my poor bumbling hero.

Favorite Character and Why: I struggle between Benedict and Elise. Elise is just so innocent and sweet, but Benedict is just as adorable with his sweet, bumbling ways. I will be reading him over and over again.

Rating and Why: Five Stars. This was one of those quick, feel-good stories that leave you on cloud nine. I will be rereading this one every Christmas.

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