Welcome to the seventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Progressive Era, and my choice of story was Heart onf the Line by Karent Witemeyer. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form.*
Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
I’ve long been a fan of Karen Witemeyer’s books. In fact, I think I own almost every book she’s written, even though I’ve far from read them all. It was a joy to pick up one of her books this month and read Heart on the Line. It was an adorable historical twist on “meeting online.” And Karen NEVER fails to deliver on the action and adventure. I didn’t pay attention to this being a book 2, but it stands alone without having read the first story. However, I am definitely going back and reading Emma and Malachi’s story now.
Heart on the Line is one of those reads that stick with you long after you finish reading. I’m still chuckling over the quirky characters and thinking through the spiritual lessons they grew through. Amos is one of those heroes who doesn’t quite fit the mold, yet has all the qualities you would want in a hero. I loved his own acknowledgment of not being the kind of man a woman takes a second glance at. While insecure, he managed to have an underlying confidence that made you root for him even in those moments of doubt. Grace was intelligent, brave, and wise while still having room to grow as a person.
I recommend this novel for fans of friends to more, somewhat awkward heroes, and stories laced with humor, danger, and spiritual truths that don’t Bible thump you.
Genre: Historical Romance, Texas 1894
Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.
Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.
What I loved: I absolutely adored the relationship between Amos and Grace, but even more so the relationship between Helen and Lee. Both had their own tugs and pulls, and both sets were willing to risk their lives not only for each other but for the community at large.
Favorite Character and Why: It’s a tie between Helen and Amos. Helen’s growth as a character was so fun to watch. My heart ached and cheered for her as she moved beyond the hurts of the past toward a stronger relationship with Christ and others. Amos was just an adorable hero who had such an underlying strength that he won my heart right off the bat.
Who would like this? I recommend this novel for fans of friends to more, somewhat awkward heroes, and stories laced with humor, danger, and spiritual truths that don’t Bible thump you.
Rating and Why: Five. The story while somewhat predictable was satisfying and lifted my spirits. I loved the action involved, and the romance was just the right amount to swoon without gagging. (Yes, this romance author can’t take too much romance without gagging. LOL)
Comment with what you read for this month’s challenge to be entered to win a print copy of Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer. This giveaway is open to U.S. and International Residents who are legally able to enter. If an international winner is picked and Book Depository cannot ship, they will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Comment or use Rafflecopter for extra entries by 11:59 pm (EST) on August 7th to be eligible to win. Happy reading!
Just like every Bibliophile, I have a TBR pile that can fill a library… and quite literally it does. My basement has no less than 10 bookcases packed tight. Of course I’ve read about a fourth… maybe more like a fifth of them. So there are plenty waiting to be read. These are the books currently at the top of my pile, (and some of them aren’t Historical Fiction –Eep! In fact, you’ll notice a lot of suspense. Partly due to the fact on road trips we read books aloud, and with three males in the car, suspense catches their interest.):
Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano – What seems like a Pygmalion dream come true turns into a nightmare for rag woman Raina Bretton. Ever since a handsome stranger brought her to Rothburne Abbey, she’s been uneasy. Amid the ruin and decay of the old mansion, one man stands between her and her true identity. Will he reveal her mysterious secret—or keep it hidden?
Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate – Natalie Groves is convinced that she was meant for great things. But after her fiance, Jeremy, leaves her, her grand dreams evaporate. Back in town seven years later with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Jeremy asks Natalie for help. When they join forces, sparks fly—but will they get burned again along the way?
More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer – People consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Born with mismatched eyes and orphaned at a young age, she’s been rejected repeatedly. Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, seeking revenge against the gambler who stole his birthright—Evie’s “brother,” Zacharias. But as they fall in love, will Logan choose to avenge Zach’s past—or embrace the future with Evie?
Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – Top FBI cop Paul Falcon knows Ann Silver is one of the most respected homicide investigators in the Midwest. So when a supsicious death causes their worlds to collide, he hopes she’ll be a useful colleague. He never expects to be smitten! Still, he wonders . . . Why does everybody trust her? What secrets is she keeping?
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.
Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter – When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.
Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Although Aaron’s job is to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?
A young woman working at the Dead Letter Office in 1883 opens a series of heartbreaking love letters. She’s determined to find their rightful owner and make things right. But a trip to Azure Springs, Iowa, may provide love and healing for more than just the letter writer.
The Cost of Betrayal – Three Romantic Suspense Novellas. Dee Henderson’s “Betrayed,” Dani Pettrey’s “Deadly Isle,” and Lynette Eason’s “Code of Ethics.”
Sins of the Past – Three blockbuster authors team up for a “triple threat” page-turner! In Missing, a Wyoming sheriff must travel to Chicago to rescue his elderly mother. In Shadowed, the McKennas come face-to-face with a possible Russian defector. And in Blackout, a woman falsely accused of theft must find the loot before the true criminal discovers her!
Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett – Nate Webber takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. When Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship.
This week I decided to share my comfort reads, the books I run to when I just want something familiar and comfortable. What is your favorite comfort book?
In no particular order, here are my top ten favorites to re-read:
Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep – Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.
A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure
The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy
The Hawk and the Jewel by Lori Wick – Everyone thought little Sunny had perished with Lady Gallagher in storm-tossed seas off the Arabian coast, but the beautiful toddler had been found, taken to the palace of Darhabar, and raised as the ruler’s own child. Now the emir, Ahmad Khan, is sending her home, and Sunny’s uncertain, new life is completely in God’s hands.
The Knight and the Dove by Lori Wick – When the king commands Bracken to marry, high-spirited Megan is chosen to fulfill the edict. Unskilled in the ways of love, Bracken finds Megan captivating, yet cannot seem to voice his feelings until he almost loses her forever.
A Rumored Fortuneby Joanna Davidson Politano – Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.
When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke – Elizabeth, the cultured young schoolteacher from the East, has braved the western frontier and spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. Now she and Wynn are planning their wedding and their new life together at his outpost in the far north. While Wynn is accustomed to life in the north, Elizabeth is not. Can their love for each other sustain them through a harsh winter, loneliness, and rigors of life without any of the conveniences they’re used to?
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Seven Brides for Seven Texans – Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?
No One Is Too Tough to be Loved Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures.
Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake – When “Big Tim” Creighton spies the mincing fop headed toward Forsaken Ranch, he is appalled. Thankful his boss isn’t around to witness the arrival of his kin, Tim decides he’ll turn “Fancy Pants” Hathwell into a man worthy of respect. Lady Sydney Hathwell never intended to don men’s attire, but when her uncle mistakenly assumed she was a male, the answer to her problems seemed clear. When her deception is exposed, will she be forced to abandon her hopes for family…and true love?
And a bonus…
Plots and Pans by Kelly Eileen Hake – The ability to follow orders—his orders—is the #1 job requirement for anybody joining cowboy Tucker Carmichael’s cattle drive. He knows that on the Chisholm Trail a moment’s hesitation can mean death. So when his partner’s headstrong sister, Jessalyn, joins their team as chuck wagon cook, sparks start to fly! Is God “stirring up” romance?
This is another delightful, light-hearted romance with all the struggle for love you hope to find in a romance, and for my very busy pre-summer schedule, it was the perfect length! I was able to read this in a couple hours on a day I was playing chauffeur for my family.
Daniel is a former bounty hunter become legend. He despises the dime novels that exaggerate and glorify his former life as Dead-Eye Dan and has led a quiet life for the last five years at a Jonah Hawkins’ ranch. Bound by an oath, Daniel has done everything he can to suppress his feelings for the ranchman’s daughter.
Marietta is in love with Dead-Eye Dan, but not the legend, the real man. When she finds out he is leaving, she is determined to not let him leave without first convincing him to marry her. With Daniel staying behind during the cattle drive to prepare his new mule ranch, Marietta devises a plan that can’t fail.
The struggle between admitting love and being bound by an oath is masterfully and humorously done. The passion is swoon worthy and Daniel’s loyalty to his oath is so admirable. I absolutely love the characters and how they interact together.
Marietta Hawkins has been in love with ranch foreman Daniel Barrett since she came home from school three years ago. Unfortunately, her father’s rule about hands not fraternizing with his daughter has kept him out of reach. She believed patience would prove a virtue in winning him over–until now. He is leaving. Starting up his own spread. To have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or lose him forever. Fans of A Worthy Pursuit will enjoy seeing these characters again!