I just absolutely love the books Joanna Davidson Politano writes. She is truly the only first person POV author I can count on to pull me in and never let me go. Her latest release is no different for me in that regard. Though life was busy and I had to rely on taking sips of the story in the car rides in between picking up and dropping kids off, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the audio was so great, when hubby and I finally had a couple hours alone with nothing to do, I read the print copy as I listened to the audio while cuddled up against my hubby. TV shows just have no appeal when you can be reading one of Joanna’s books. Her lovely complexity of writing and keeping the reader guessing is well displayed and I loved following the mystery of it all. It’s definitely one I recommend and will be giving copies away at Christmas.
Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian England
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.
What I loved: Finding Lady Enderly is a multilayered story. I love the mystery behind the story, the twists revealed, and the spiritual parallels which can be drawn. And who of course doesn’t love Sully? The poor man just wants to love and keep this stubborn woman safe. I’m sure my husband can relate to Sully. I’m always getting into trouble.
Favorite Character and Why: I really love Raina. You understand her struggle and fears, as well as get to grow with her. She really as a beautiful growth arc. And I can’t not mention Sully. The man is the sweetest thing, and hearing his voice on the audio? I still hear his swoony accent in my head.
Who would like this? If you love mystery, subtle romance, and literary connections, you’ll love this book. The way Sully and Raina communicate is absolutely amazing. It makes me want to sneak one of my husband’s books away, mark a page, and underline something to say him.
Of course, he reads ebooks, and the print books aren’t exactly romance, so sigh. I guess I probably shouldn’t underline the threats of death. Not unless, he forgets to pick up the dirty laundry again. 😉
Rating and Why: Five stars. I really love the way you just get swept into the story into another time and place. It doesn’t even feel like you are reading first person, which is an amazing accomplishment in my opinion.
Here’s hoping that November allows me some more reading time! Also this is the LAST few days to enter to win the whole Bow Street Runners Trilogy from Michelle Griep. Use this link to enter, or visit last week’s post for more details. Now on to this month’s TBR Pile Topple. 🙂
Royally Yours by Betsy St. Amant, Ashley Clark, Liz Johnson, and Melissa Tagg — Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after…tiaras optional. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini — A young woman overcome by grief teams up with a special education teacher to bring joy to the community through a Christmas-themed tourist attraction. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)
Valerie’s Verdict by Hallee Bridgeman — Broken and battered, Valerie comes home and finds a lifetime of love waiting for her. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
An Unexpected Family by June Foster — Grant Elliot leaves his father’s veterinarian dynasty and overambitious twin brother to practice in the small town of Homedale, California. When local baker Kate Klein brings her ailing dog into the office, Grants’s intrigued by the lab’s gorgeous owner. He wants to get to know her but can’t reveal his origins. What would she think if she knew his father’s clinics cater only to the wealthy who spoil and pamper their pets instead of practicing genuine medicine? Kate Kline inherits Aunt Ella’s Bake Shop when her aunt passes away and must make a success of the failing business or lose her father’s respect. Now California Plastics, her major account, has moved their plant to Sacramento. She’s faced with the possibility of closure and won’t accept Grant’s offer to bail her out. She doesn’t need a man’s help. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])
Simply Smitten by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Business brought them together but will betrayal pull them apart? Michael Pierce co-owns a start-up software development company. They are well on their way to success when Michael discovers something that changes everything. Can the beautiful economist he hired fix the mess, or are they doomed to bankruptcy? Hailey is under a lot of pressure at work. Not the least of which comes directly from her new boss. She’s dreamed of being a successful businesswoman, but now her heart wants more. Can she have love and a career, or will she have to choose? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
By All Appearances by Dawn Kinzer — An attractive special events planner from a wealthy family and a disfigured musician find their lives entangled when he is hired as a caretaker on her family’s estate. (Contemporary Romance from Mountainview Publishing)
Courting the Amish Nanny by Carrie Lighte — Embarrassed by an unrequited crush, Amish maedel Sadie Dienner needs a vacation from her life in Pennsylvania—and from romance. Until Christmas, she’s working in Maine as a nanny to Amish widower Levi Swarey’s twins. But Levi is frustratingly overprotective and they just can’t see eye to eye on anything. And the worst part? Sadie can’t seem to stop herself from losing her heart… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:
Meant For Her by Joy Avery Melville — Kidnapped, raped, brutally beaten, and left for dead, Candi Reynolds becomes a prisoner of fear. Faced also with the impact of the unexpected break-up with her fiancé, and an unwanted pregnancy resulting from the attacks, she believes God has forsaken her. Choosing to move back to the Michigan horse farm owned by her older brother, Dr. Cam Reynolds, Candi goes into seclusion. Dr. Patrick (Mack) MacKevon, long-time friend of Cam’s, watches from the sidelines at the farm where his horses are stabled, while Candi struggles to regain a sense of normalcy. His own big-brother tendencies develop into a much deeper emotion over the months he prays for her. Is it possible for Candi to put all of the pain and trauma behind her and renew her former relationship with the Lord? Will she allow her heart to open enough to discover authentic love, while making decisions of victory on her personal journey to joy? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)
When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser — A bestselling author, her daughter, and the perpetrator of her assassination attempt are brought together in a story about complicated choices, mental illness, forgiveness and grace. Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families, struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death. (Contemporary from Bethany House [Baker])
Wounded Heart by Colleen Hall — Orphaned Della Hughes chafes at her strict Victorian upbringing and goes west with her uncle’s family in order to find adventure and freedom. (Historical from Anaiah Press)
Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller — What happens when the hoydenish youngest daughter of the Viscount Aynsley is spirited off to Scotland and meets a kindhearted gardener of the mysterious Laird of Dungally? (Historical from Kregel Publications)
The Silk Merchant of Sychar by Cindy Williams — One woman, five husbands and a weary rabbi at the well who knows ‘everything she ever did.’ From the olive groves of Samaria to the bloodied sand of a Roman stadium to the exquisite silks brought from the East, The Silk Merchant of Sychar weaves color into the biblical account of the woman at the well. (Historical from Rhiza Press)
Marisol by Elva Cobb Martin — Alone and with child, Marisol Valentin flees Spain after murdering the nobleman who molested her. She is sold as an indentured servant at the Charles Town Harbor, but her ship is captured at sea by privateer Captain Ethan Becket, once a Charles Town minister, who is grieving his deceased wife. Ethan decides Marisol’s elegant manners make her a perfect governess for his young son. But when he sets out on a quest to find his captured sister, said to be in Cartagena, little does he expect his new Spanish governess to stow away on his ship with her six-month-old child. Her offer of help to free his sister, however, is too tempting to pass up. As is her beauty and strength of character—until he learns she is a wanted murderess. Once their paths intertwine on a journey filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, only love and the grace of God can overcome their pasts and ignite a new beginning. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)
In Black and White by MaryAnn Diorio — When graduate student Tori Pendola and Jebuni Kalitsi, a Ghanaian exchange student and heir to his tribe’s chieftaincy, fall deeply in love, they must face not only their own inner demons of rejection and guilt but also the demons of societal hatred bent on destroying their relationship. Will their love survive the cruel and bitter attacks against them? (Historical Romance from TopNotch Press)
Serving Up Love by Regina Jennings, Tracie Peterson, Jen Turano, and Karen Witemeyer — On the Menu for These Ladies? Adventure, Independence, and a Big Serving of Romance! A storied part of American history, Harvey Houses offered women a unique chance to gain independence and see amazing parts of this great country. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
While the Rain Whispered by Kim Williams — Clara Williams has a good life, but she would walk away from it if she could. She longs for adventure greater than both the confines her rural Texas town and the people she loves have to offer. Clara is certain the stories she writes for children contain more adventure than her reality. She cannot reconcile the internal frustration with her faith. When opportunity presents itself at last, Clara is faced with a choice between the life she’s known and the life she longs to know, and the men who each belong in one but not the other. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Pocket Change by Debbie Archer — When Publisher’s Clearing House winner, Mary Clare Casteel, decides to help rejuvenate her dying town, she has no idea she’ll end up solving not one but two mysterious deaths. (Cozy Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)
Dead Wrong by Vannetta Chapman — When Agatha Lapp’s brother and sister-in-law are tragically killed in a buggy accident, Agatha relocates to the new Amish community in Hunt Texas, nestled in the Texas Hill Country. She’s there to make a success of her brother’s dream–an Amish B&B. Agatha is friendly, efficient, and capable. She’s also a fifty-five year old widow who has learned to be independent. When she discovers Russell Dixon’s lifeless body in Cabin 3, she runs next door where retired detective Tony Vargas lives. The police determine that her guest died of natural causes, but as Agatha and Tony put together the events of the previous two days they become convinced that the police are Dead Wrong. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)
A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff — John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God’s calling. He’s not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past. But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf–an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to do penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again. Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John’s secrets are laid bare. Can he keep his vow–even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he’s learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, John’s life may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer. . . (Thriller/Suspense from Kregel Publications)
The Sleuth’s Conundrum by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Danger lurks and suspicions abound when a librarian, her young assistant, and a local reporter try to solve the mysteries of both a dead woman and an abandoned child. (Cozy Mystery from Mountain Brook Ink)
Deadly Harmony by Marissa Shrock — Georgia Rae Winston’s romance has broken up. But that’s the least of her problems. Georgia and Detective Cal Perkins are through. Fine. Maybe it’s an opportunity to give charmer Hamlet Miller a chance. But there’s no time for romance when Georgia hosts her stepsister and her roommate, Quincy, during a college chorale tour—and Quincy steals Georgia’s car and disappears. When her car turns up in a cemetery with a cryptic note lying on the front seat, Georgia decides to take action. As Georgia and her stepsister dig into the mystery, they uncover Quincy’s tumultuous past. A past that points to a frightening present. They dig deeper and discover a web of deception they’re determined to untangle, if they can stay alive long enough to bring the truth to light. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)
One Day Gone by Luana Ehrlich — Mylas Grey, the chief investigator for Senator Davis Allen, enlists the help of a beautiful photographer when he returns to his hometown to investigate the disappearance of Lizzie Allen, the senator’s missing daughter. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Dangerous Christmas Memories by Sarah Hamaker — Hiding in witness protection is the only option for Priscilla Anderson after witnessing a murder. Then Lucas Langsdale shows up claiming to be her husband right when a hit man finds her. With partial amnesia, she has no memory of her marriage or the killer’s identity. Yet she will have to put her faith in Luc if they both want to live to see another day. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
What If? by Roger E. Bruner — Three teens join forces with Holyland’s outgoing president to prevent the inevitable election of a man who’s determined to wipe out the remnant of New America’s few remaining Christians. (Speculative, Independently Published)
The winner will receive an e-book copy of Brentwood’s Ward (#1), The Innkeeper’s Daughter (#2), and The Noble Guardian (#3).
This contest is open to all over the age of 18. If you want to join my mailing list to follow my writing journey, it is greatly appreciated but NOT required. I just want to share this fantastic series with others.
Entries open from Tuesday, October 29 (10 am EST) to Friday, November 8 (11:59 pm EST).
*Entering your email DOES NOT sign you up for anything other than an entry. The information is used only to contact the winner and is not kept beyond the duration of the giveaway.
For fun, share who your favorite author is or a book you are enjoying in the comments.
It takes a criminal to catch one, and Nicholas Brentwood is just the man for the job. Reformed in more ways than one, the rough-around-the-edges Brentwood is a member of the Bow Street Runners, London’s early nineteenth-century fledgling police force. There’s none better than Brentwood at catching the felons who ravage the city’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice served. Beautiful and beguiling, Miss Emily Payne is not the sort of miscreant Brentwood usually hunts down. When he is assigned as her bodyguard, he vows to protect her from her father’s enemies, who will stop at nothing to carry out their mission fueled by greed and revenge.
All her life, Emily has longed for love, but it remains beyond her grasp. This season she’s determined to find a husband, which is quite the undertaking with a hound-dog guardian like Brentwood watching her every step. If he would just give her some measure of freedom, she is sure she could win the heart of society’s most eligible bachelor.
Emily’s headstrong persistence challenges Nicholas in ways he doesn’t expect but of one thing he’s certain—of all the cunning criminals he’s dealt with in the past, this time he’s met his match.
Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.
All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.
Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.
The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, love is finally within reach. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentleman bachelors in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.
Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But to him she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.
Abby pleads with him to escort her on the rest of her journey. He refuses until she offers him the thing he desperately needs to achieve his goal: money. Delivering her safely will earn him more than enough to settle into a quiet life.
So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.
Hello, lovely reader. Help yourself to a cup of hot cup cider and a heaping portion of apple crumble. Fall is finally back and so is Cynthia Roemer, my guest today.
Cynthia Roemer is the author of three wonderful books: Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies. These midwestern prairie romances follow the hearts and struggles of three women as they deal with loss, love, and hard choices. Readers will forever be touched by the way Cynthia weaves real characters with real problems into stories which captivate. Let me introduce you to the woman herself.
Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, releasing September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons. Visit Cynthia online at: www.cynthiaroemer.com
Crystal: Thank you so much for joining me today, Cynthia. First up are my Fast Five–shaken up and changed!
Coffee or Tea?
Cynthia:Neither really, I’m more a water or lemonade type of gal! I get my caffeine from chocolate! =)
Crystal: Lemonade makes me think of summer. 🙂
Christmas or Easter?
Cynthia: Both! LOL! But if I had to choose, I choose Easter, because it celebrates Jesus’ resurrection
Crystal: It’s a hard one to choose between for sure.
Spring or Fall?
Crystal: There is just nothing compared to the magic of changing leave and sweater weather.
Print or E-book?
Cynthia: Definitely print
Crystal: With you 100%.
Favorite Bible Verse
Cynthia: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.”
Crystal: Definitely a comforting one.
Writing & Life
What keeps you busy most days?
Cynthia:I work at an elementary library two days a week. Most other days, when I’m not writing, I’m doing normal wife/mom things: cooking, laundry, cleaning, spending time with family.
Crystal: Life in an elementary school is lots of fun. I’m so glad you get that experience! And I guess not even authors get to escape the day to day drudgery.
When you DO get to write, what does your workspace look like?
Cynthia: Most days, I’m at my desktop in our living room. But when the weather is nice, I love going out on our porch with my laptop.
Crystal: That sounds lovely. I hope you get to enjoy the outside weather a lot this Fall. It’s one of my favorite times of the year.
Do you have any pets?
Cynthia: At present, we have one cat named Chad. I named him and his sister Charlotte after the characters in my second novel when I was in the midst of writing it. Sadly, Charlotte got killed. Now Chad is one super-spoiled kitty!!
Crystal: That is so sad!!! I am so glad Chad has you to spoil him. Speaking of your books…
How did it feel to wrap up the Prairie Skies series?
Cynthia: Both sad and satisfying. I’ll so miss the characters and will always hold them in my heart, but trust the Lord will stir equally endearing characters in my imagination in the future!
What was the best part about writing this series?
Cynthia: Creating the characters and also the research! These are probably my favorite parts of writing. Such fun!
Do you have any plans for a future project?
Cynthia: Currently, I’m researching and brainstorming for a fourth novel set during the latter part of the Civil War and immediately following it. It’s still formulating in my mind, but involves an injured Union soldier and a sympathetic Southern belle. At this point, it seems to be a standalone project…unless the Lord gives ideas for a series. =)
Crystal: I love Civil War stories, especially with characters on opposite sides of the lines. We’ll be praying for you as that idea develops!
Which character was the most fun to create?
Cynthia: Oh, it’s difficult to choose just one. In Under This Same Sky, I loved Becky’s friend, Jimmy. He’s the wise and loving friend everyone wants and dreams of. In Under Prairie Skies, little Johnny was a lot of fun. I loved his innocence and the way he related to Charlotte. In Under Moonlit Skies, it’s a toss-up between Stew and old Annie. Stew was such a great guy, always willing to put others ahead of himself. But I also loved old Annie’s godly candidness and sweet spirit.
Crystal: I am fond of those particular characters, especially Stew.
Fun, Zaney Question of the Day
If you could have super power, which would it be?
Cynthia: To be able to split myself into two Cynthia’s – one to do what I need to do and the other to do what I want to do – write! =)
Crystal: Boy do I wish I could do that, except maybe even more versions of myself!
Thank so much for visiting with us.
Readers, if you are interested in learning more about Cynthia’s books you can check them out by clicking on the book covers below. Thank so much for stopping by and have a great week!
The Prairie Skies series has been a pleasure to read and one I will read again, which for me is rare. There are few straight romances which I will read, let alone reread. Yet, Cynthia Roemer always seems to bring more to a story than just romance. Her characters and storylines have depth and and life truths. Under Moonlit Skies had the touch of danger for the last third of the book that I crave. Soooo good. Of course it doesn’t hurt that part of the story takes place in my region. 😉 You can read the reviews of the first two books in the series Under This Same Sky and Under Prairie Skies.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1850s
Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in ~
Illinois prairie ~ 1859
After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.
Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.
What I loved: My favorite part is the danger and how Stew’s character really stands out in the midst of it. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say it has to do with the fact Cincinnati was a hotbed of activity during the years leading up to the Civil War.
Favorite Character: I really loved Stew. He was an imperfect man with a strength of character which one cannot help but love. He is sweet and committed. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but he does it anyway.
Who would like this: Anyone who loves stories with characters who struggle with becoming their own person, gentle romance, and a touch of danger. Also, those who enjoy a glimpse into pre-Civil War life in an area where blacks were free but always in danger.
Rating and Why: I gave this a four and half star rating. It was a great conclusion to the series which was different from each of the preceding plots and there was a continued demonstration of great character development. I love getting to see characters struggle and change in ways I can relate to.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. The review above was influenced in no way by this and the above opinions are my own.
Join the discussion: If you had a decision to make that would greatly disappoint and hurt a parent’s feelings, would you choose what they wanted for you or what you wanted most for yourself?