Book Review: The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White

The Reluctant Duchess

The Reluctant Duchess  (Ladies of the Manor #2)     

Author: Roseanna M. White

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: April 2016

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A RIVETING EDWARDIAN SERIES SET AMONG BRITAIN’S HIGH SOCIETY

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when Rowena’s father tries to trap Brice into marrying his daughter, Brice makes a surprising decision.

Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she’s reluctant to marry a notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’s about to end up directly in the path of everything she was trying to avoid.

AMAZON | GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW:

Anyone who walks into a Barnes and Noble or surfs Amazon for more than a minute could state that there is no shortage of books in Western civilization. Whether in print or e-format, numerous genres and authors abound with stories fantastical and beautiful enough to whisk you into whatever world you wish to visit. Having many choices, however, requires readers to open new books with open minds. After all, a loaded to-be-read list often means favorites; and favorites, reader friends, equals favoritism.

With that key word in mind, I opened The Reluctant Duchess knowing the second book in the Ladies of the Manor series had a tough predecessor to follow. You see, The Lost Heiress, book one of the Edwardian-set series, is my favorite book of all time (aside from Pride and Prejudice, of course). How could I possibly ensure that Roseanna White’s sophomore novel was given a fair chance as my new favorite book?

It turns out that I need not have worried myself about whether I could remain unbiased while reading The Reluctant Duchess. While The Lost Heiress still remains my favorite book, White’s first and sophomore novels in this series are so different that it’s impossible to compare them purely on the merits of enjoyment. I love both of these books and for vastly opposing reasons–and that, reader friends, is one of the many reasons this series is special.

The Ladies of the Manor series introduces readers to numerous characters and places throughout its novels. The idiosyncrasies and traits of both characters and settings offer unique perspectives on historical stories that open up the lives of people whose worlds are so different–but also so similar–to our own. The Reluctant Duchess is a story filled with the horror and pain of abuse; the steadfastness and protection of a relationship; and the faith and trust in something bigger than ourselves. Unlike the first book in the series, I found that White’s second novel moved slowly, much as the relationship between main characters Brice and Rowena evolved, letting me savor the processes both go through to become the Godly man and women each other deserve. (Take care to note that although I said the story moved slowly, that does mean the story read slowly–two very different things.)

With the steady pace of The Reluctant Duchess, I found I was better able to know Brice and Rowena. Whereas The Lost Heiress had me quickly turning pages to uncover the story, with The Reluctant Duchess I was much more invested in the unique outcomes for each character. This story was less driven by the plot of the Fire Eyes diamonds (although that plot still exists) and much more dependent upon what would happen with White’s hero and heroine.

I enjoyed The Reluctant Duchess very much and am so, so excited for White’s third book in the series. A Lady Unrivaled will be released this fall from Bethany House. September 13th can’t come soon enough!

Rating: 4.5 stars

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Roseanna WhiteRoseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna has a slew of historical novels available, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Sarah Sundin’s ‘Anchor in the Storm’ All Hands on Deck Giveaway

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin’s new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

anchor in the storm - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

anchor in the storm - banner

Book Review: Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Anchor in the Storm
Review: Anchor in the Storm 

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom

Publisher: Revell

Publication: May 2016

About the book:

One plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance-and danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy—even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

Purchase a copy:http://bit.ly/1YFAtJ9

Review:
Like a fine wine ages beautifully over time, author Sarah Sundin’s sweeping World War II novels just keep getting better. I knew when the first book in her Waves of Freedom series ended that I wanted to read its successor; however, I had no idea how much I would enjoy Achor in the Storm. This book has been the highlight of my “read” list for 2016, and I’m almost certain it will take the spot of my most coveted book the year. Without a doubt, with its grace-filled romance, captivating historical backdrop, and suspense element,  Anchor in the Storm could be Sundin’s best book yet.

Main characters Lillian Avery and Archer Vandenburg are perfect foils for each other as they navigate the choppy waters of what it means to be loved for who they really are. While I admit both of their struggles are foreign to me, Sundin creatively played with unique challenges for these characters. I enjoyed not only stepping into Arch and Lillian’s shoes, but in doing so through circumstances affected both by history and by social stratus.

While romance was intricately weaved into Anchor in the Storm, it was the history and suspense elements that kept me turning the pages of novel. Before reading this story I never would have called myself a reader interested in suspense, but if Sundin continues combinding suspense with her history, I will most definitely join the bandwagon on this genre. The author’s experience and insight into the pharmaceutical industry, combined with her passion for World War II history, created a riveting storyline that fascinated me. In addition to the drug-ring storyline, sub-plots involving PTSD and naval history satiated my World War II history craving.

I absolutely love this novel and am already planning ahead for when I can re-read all of  Sundin’s books. I recommend this book not only for readers of World War II history, but readers of all fiction. It is that good!

Rating: 5 stars
*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book exchange for an honest review. I not required to give a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for Litfuse Publicity and Revell for my copy of Anchor in the Storm.

Giveaway:

Come back to my blog starting at 8am on May 23rd for the link to a giveaway for Anchor in the Storm and other nautical gifts from Sara!


About the author:
 

 
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep, as well as Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California.

Book Review: A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

A Twist of FaithA Twist of Faith (Mitchell’s Crossroads #1)
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction
Published: April 6th, 2016
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Love does not have an accent … 
Dr. Adelina Roseland has worked ten years in research as an accent reduction specialist to attain her dream job. But a secret wager to transform Appalachian cattle farmer Reese Mitchell into corporate material challenges Adelina in ways she never expected, threatening her new position.

 

For one, Adelina didn’t plan for the faith and friction of Reese, or the unexpected influence of his chaotic family. Now, drawn into a culture she’d tried to forget, Adelina finds the warmth of family, the hope of faith, and the joy of love melting away the deep wounds of her past.

But when Reese discovers that he’s a pawn in her climb up the academic ladder, will he forgive Adelina s deceit or will their miscommunication end in two broken lives?


REVIEW:

Crossing the genre lines between historical fiction and contemporary fiction can bring about heated discussion amongst readers. Sometimes people tend to lean towards one genre or the other; history fans love reading about times past while contemporary fans like the ease of familiarity that comes from reading stories set in the present. Other times,    although admittedly not as often, readers–myself included–fall into both camps. In history books I can be whisked away to the romance of the Regency era, the adventure and drama of World War Two, or the retellings of fairy tales. With contemporary books the possibilities of a different life encompassed by what I know bring both comfort and newness to my world. No matter history or contemporary, when I put down a book I know I will be living a totally different life. That’s a beautiful prospect.

Publishing houses tend to prefer authors choose one genre to write in because, as creatures of habit, people like to know what to expect when they purchase a product. Authors who write in multiple genres face the possibility that readers will not know what to expect from their stories because different romance, contemporary, historical, suspense, thriller, and other genres are comprised of different elements. It is rare, then, for authors to cross genres between historical and contemporary fiction. Pepper Basham, author of the Penned in Time historical fiction series, has broken that rule, though, with A Twist of Faith, the first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series. From early twentieth century England to modern day Appalachia, Basham has proven with her latest novel that some rules are meant to be broken.

Set in rural North Carolina, Basham’s Appalachian background provides solid support for a novel that sets out to prove that labels do not define who we are. Dee, the heroine of A Twist of Faith, is everything a modern woman should be: successful, driven, poised, and focused on her career. Reese, a hardworking farmer with a strong love of family, helps set the Southern stage with his Appalachian accent and love of the land. Over the course of the novel Dee comes to accept, through the often painful idea that she has to let go, that God’s dreams and plans for her are not what she has expected but are just as beautiful. While Dee comes to find her place in Appalachia, Reese learns how to give his past over to God, which includes giving and receiving a hefty dose of forgiveness. These two unlikely heroes bring us on a faith-filled journey comprised of new dreams, challenges enlivened by grace, and the sentiment that pre-conceived notions rarely show us who people really are.

RATING: 5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Pepper BPepper Bashamasham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, and has already garnered its first award with Readers’ Favorites International Awards. Pepper’s second and third books in the series arrive in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in April. You can connect with Pepper on her websiteFacebook or Twitter.

 

Book Review: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never BeforeLike Never Before (Walker Family #2) 

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she new who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime–a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.

REVIEW:

There are certain things I know will bring me smiles: purring kittens, Broadway musicals, Disney movies, Jane Austen adaptations, trips to Barnes and Nobles. The underlying theme of this list–the belief that love conquers all. (Well, maybe that Barnes and Nobles trip doesn’t quite fit that statement, but hey, this *is* my list…and I can find many “love conquers all” stories in B&N.)

And if I want one of those “love conquers all” stories that will make me smile, I know without any doubt that all I need to do is pull a Melissa Tagg novel off the shelf. That’s right, reader friends. Some stories make your heart flutter with the sweet delight of first love; others make your heart pound with the spice; and some make you swoon with the romance. Melissa’s novels have a little bit of all of that, ensuring that no matter what kind of love a reader longs for, they will find it amongst her witty dialog, punchy plots, and quirky characters.

Witty dialog, punchy plots, and quirky characters are enough to make a novel successful, but I fully believe that readers keep coming back for more of Melissa’s books because of the heart of the stories. Melissa crafts characters and storylines that speak to the  heartaches, joys, loves, and dramas that we all experience. Like Never Before demonstrates her natural ability to reach people on a heart-level through seemingly ordinary circumstances (in the book) but truly beautiful life lessons (woven into the story through her unique author voice).

I’ve long loved Melissa’s novels for all those reasons mentioned above, but in Like Never Before I noticed what first caught my attention last winter with her stand-alone novella: this author’s craft is strong, unique, and improved upon in each book she writes. Like Never Before stands out from Melissa’s preceding novels because of her use of wit in her dialog and prose, deep plot lines, and comedic timing. While Melissa’s novels are always funny, the wit and comedic timing in Like Never Before actually had me laughing out loud. She also deepened her story with a historical subplot that strengthened her character’s motivations and added a layer of complexity to her writing. These two elements alone tell me that Melissa is more than capable–and likely will–make a name for herself in a niche market of authors who can write complex contemporary romance novels.

Like Never Before is now one of my favorite novels ever. I am so excited to read Melissa’s future novels, including the next novel in the Walker Family Series (starring Beckett)!

Rating: 5 stars


About the Author: 

Melissa TaggMelissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She’s also a multi-published novelist, writing romantic comedies in the banter-filled style of her favorite 1930s and 40s classic films. Her latest book, Like Never Before, was named by Publishers Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. When she’s not writing she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.