Last Chance Wife by Janette Foreman
I don’t know if you have heard the news, but Love Inspired is bringing back their Historical line for a limited time. I didn’t even know the line existed until after they’d already closed it, so with the announcement of the new line, I decided to read a dozen or so first chapters and pick out which story grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. Janette Foreman’s story was exactly that!
This was such a fun twist on mail-order brides and love letters. Winifred is a disgruntled mail-order bride ready to admit defeat and return home, however, first she must earn her way back home. Ewan begrudgingly puts an anonymous ad out for a mail-order bride–and his cut and dry expectations flare Winifred’s frustration with men to new heights. She picks up a pen and immediately writes to “Business Man” and signs it “Thoroughly Disgruntled,” never expecting to actually send the letter. Of course, it gets sent, and I have to say, I love the results.
Last Chance Wife is a story that will have you giggling, grinning, and turning the pages all night long.
Genre: Historical Romance, Mining Camp, 1878
Her Secret Suitor
When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.
To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?
What I loved: I loved the letters the most! It was so fun seeing them interact in person and then through the written word. It truly made my heart swoon.
Favorite Character and Why: Although Ewan appears to be a stiff, stand-offish person on the outside, he proved to be a multi-layered hero who steals your breath with his generous heart.
Who would like this? I’d recommend it to anyone who loves sweet romances with heroes who are generous on the inside but appear rigid on the outside, and heroines who are independent and capable but not perfect.
Rating and Why: Five Stars. It was a fun, quick read with a unique twist on letter writing and mail-order brides.
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Hello my lovelies!
Long time no see. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been absent for a few weeks and for good reason. The marvelous, amazing, newborn Momma, Savanna Kaiser was hard at work developing my new website. I didn’t want to add any more content and make her job harder so I’ve held off.
BUT NOW I get the incredible honor and joy of introducing you to my critique partner and friend, Patti Stockdale and her debut historical romance, Three Little Things.
TO CELEBRATE PATTI’S DEBUT, BE SURE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY AT THE END OF THIS POST
Patti Stockdale has returned to her home state of Iowa after moving around the country for years. She’s a freelance writer and previously worked as a director at a nonprofit, an administrative assistant, and a corn detasseler – a big challenge since she’s five foot one. Love letters her grandparents exchanged served as the inspiration for Three Little Things.
It is such and honor and blessing to have you here to celebrate the release of your debut! Before we dive in to the detailed questions, I would love to hit you with my fast five.
CC: Sweet or Unsweet Tea?
PS: Unsweetened and decaffeinated. Loose-leaf blueberry is my favorite.
CC: Oh, blueberry sounds interesting! I’m going to have to find some and try it!
CC: Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway?
PS: The beach is my go-to vacation spot.
CC: The older I get, the more I like the beach. It is so relaxing!
CC: Homebody or Love to Travel?
PS: I’m a homebody who loves to travel.
CC: That is a sweet combination! The best of both worlds.
CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?
PS: My husband rises at 5:30 for work, so that’s usually when I start my day too.
CC: Bless you, friend. No one should be up that early. LOL
CC: Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages?
PS: I love bookmarks, but I can’t ever find one when I need it.
CC: You created some beautiful bookmarks for your release! Of course, you probably mailed all of those out.
I feel like even though I’ve known you for a couple of years now, that I know you even better after that. So now to the even more fun stuff!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
PS: I either wanted to be a ballerina or operate the cash register at Van’s Grocery.
CC: That is so adorable! I can see a younger version of you dressed in a tutu playing with a toy cash register.
CC: What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?
PS: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Whenever I’m struggling, either physically or emotionally, the verse delivers peace.
CC: That is such a powerful verse. I agree it’s one to turn to in times of struggle for a measure of peace.
Now for one of my favorite parts! Introducing your book! So here is the blurb for Three Little Things.
One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.
Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.
Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.
One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.
CC: So, Patti, which character was the most fun to create? What made them fun?
PS: My favorite character to write was Jeb, the protagonist’s brother. He dropped out of school early and starts reading the dictionary to expand his vocabulary.
CC: I did love Jeb and his sort of know it all attitude, too. Just like a brother.
This story has a special place in your heart. Can you explain why?
PS: Three Little Things is inspired by letters my maternal grandparents exchanged. Initially, I tried to tell their story. But there were too many gaps, and I couldn’t assign flaws to my grandparents.
CC: Grandparents are always perfect in our eyes aren’t they. I love that they exchanged letters and you can follow their romance through it. What a sweet way to get to know them better.
How did you select the names of your characters?
PS: To honor my grandparents, I used their first names: Arno and Hattie in Three Little Things. Another character is named after my paternal grandmother: Lena. I also ask friends to tell me their grandparents or great-grandparents’ names. Then, I pick my favorites.
CC: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview. I just have one more fun question for you. What would be your writer mascot and why?
PS: I’d choose a sweet teddy bear as my mascot. They’re snuggly, friendly, and make me smile.
CC: Awww, that sounds an awful like someone I know. Except we don’t cuddle, but I’ll take one of your hugs any day.
Now to my reader friends, in order to celebrate my wonderful friend’s debut, I’d like to offer you a chance to win an e-book copy of Patti’s debut. This giveaway is open internationally and will end on March 2nd at 11:59 PM (EST). To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Circle of Spies by Roseanna White
Circle of Spies is the third and final book in the Culper Ring series, but you don’t necessarily have to read the others to enjoy the last, although I HIGHLY recommend it as you will get connections missed otherwise. This particular story takes place during the last months of the Civil War and full of espionage and tension.
As I prepare to write my own Civil War series, it was a great way to get my mindset in the time period. As always her characters have special gifts that make them stand out. The heroine, Marietta, has a photographic memory. This comes as a curse which she eventually learns to accept as a gift. It truly was a fascinating read with historical details that really got my mind working.
Genre: Historical Romance, Civil War, 1865 – Baltimore
1865―Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle―a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for―has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?
Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him―it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.
Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?
What I loved:
History is always a big one for me, but I enjoyed then tension and ending action of this one. Everything seemed to go a believable path while still keeping me on the edge of my seat.
Favorite Character and Why: It’s hard to put my finger on one, but Grandpa Thad is definitely still a favorite of mine.
Who would like this? Anyone who enjoy American history, especially Civil War fans. The romance in this one is a bit different, but realistic of two broken people learning to become new in Christ. If you like danger, history, and characters with unique gifts, this is definitely a go to read.
Rating and Why: Four and half stars. I love the history, tension, and action of the story.
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Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna White
This was a particularly fun read for me because I managed to get my mother-in-law hooked. My MIL is legally blind, and doesn’t read for leisure as it is very difficult on her. However, while baking for Thanksgiving, I had this book playing over the speaker while she sat nearby. Friends, she became so engrossed, I wasn’t allowed to listen to it without her. Which led to me showing her how to download my account to her phone and me purchasing an e-book copy so I could continue at my own pace. We ended up having a reading race, and it was one of the greatest joys I’ve shared with her this year.
Whispers from the Shadows is the second book in the Culper Ring series, but you don’t necessarily have to read the first one to enjoy the second. (As proved by my MIL.) However, you will enjoy seeing the characters from the first book reappear and have a stronger understanding of the backstory if you do.
I really enjoyed taking a look at the War of 1812. I had a vague recollection of the war from my long ago studies, but I always just viewed it as the wrap up of the American Revolution. In a way it was, but it was so much more than I remembered. The way Roseanna M. White brought it to light was exciting, enlightening, and engaging. Whispers from the Shadows is a book I will reread and recommend to others.
Genre: Historical Romance, War of 1812 – Baltimore
Treachery causes Gwyneth Fairchild’s world to crumble. The daughter of a British general, she barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship to America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland, having been told by her father she could implicitly trust Winter and Bennet Lane, even though their nations are once again at war. After meeting their son, Thad, she wonders how safe she truly is when she discovers that the Lanes trade in a dangerous commodity – espionage.
Not long after Gwyneth finds refuge in his city, Thad Lane experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. With family playing the part of enemies and enemies proving themselves friends, a future with Gwyn is uncertain. But at this moment, with the British advancing on Washington and Baltimore, they have only their shared faith in God as a shield about them.
What I loved:
Besides the history, which is always a go-to for me, I really loved the connection between Gwyneth and Thad. There was just something so unique and special about it. Their relationship drew me in.
Favorite Character and Why: Thad. Without a doubt. He was a man with convictions who followed the Lord’s leading. He was brave, compassionate, a leader, and intelligent. Thad was a hero I could respect.
Who would like this? Anyone who enjoy American history, especially time periods not heavily focused on in writing or in the history books. Readers who enjoy sweet romance, strong natural spiritual threads, and danger-filled stories will want to pick this book up.
Rating and Why: Five stars. This history, the danger, the love, and the hope shared through this book make it one I will reread again.
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Ring of Secrets by Roseanna White
As has often been the case for me of late, I’ve been so busy that reading fiction has fallen to audiobooks while driving. In desperation for something I could download quickly from my library I reached out the Facebook group Avid Christian Fiction Readers and asked for suggestions. Roseanna White’s books was one of the first to pop up on the responses. Since the library didn’t have the one suggested I went with A Ring of Secrets because of two words: Culper Ring.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Culper Ring was a network of spies used by General George Washington during the American Revolution, and who doesn’t love a good story of espionage and intrigue. This history buff/danger-craving reader downloaded it in a heartbeat.
Ring of Secrets is the first in a series of three dealing with this Culper Ring, so don’t be surprised if more reviews for the following books pop up. As always, the thing that drew me in was the immense amount of historical accuracy in this story. It was absolutely jaw-dropping the amount of information I learned (and then verified) while reading this book.
The plot line was exciting, while realistic, and the romance one that was well developed. While multiple people vied for Winter’s hand, I never once felt the anger I usually feel with love triangles. Roseanna White handled it in a wonderful believable way that felt right and not like someone got the short end of the stick just because. So Roseanna White, if you’re reading this, kudos! That is an amazing undertaking in my opinion, and your research? AMAZING.
If you like books with espionage, tension, danger, as well as love and a wonderful spiritual thread, you definitely need to pick this book up.
Genre: Historical Romance, American Revolution – New York
Winter Reeves is an aristocratic Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she’s caught, if she’s hung for espionage…well, she won’t be. Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade: the wonders of invisible ink, drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover.
Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington’s spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can’t be ignored.
Both believers…and both committed to a separate cause. Will their faith in God lead them to a shared destiny or lives lived apart?
What I loved:
The history! I love all the historical details and true look into spying during the American Revolution.
Favorite Character and Why: I really did love Winter. Her struggle with her place in her family, what she felt called to do, and the courage she had really drew me in. She made a few decisions I would never had made, but I thoroughly admire her for them.
Who would like this? Anyone who enjoys a thorough reimagining of the American Revolution, its relational difficulties, and the brave men and women who participated in it will find this a refreshing and exciting story. Also, anyone who enjoys sweet romance, strong spiritual threads that are preachy but natural, and danger filled tension, this book is for you.
Rating and Why: Five stars. This history, the danger, the love, and the hope shared through this book make it one I will reread again.
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