Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Line by Line

 


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Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen a career as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind.  Years later, she doesn't regret her freedom in foregoing marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm.  But when the company's ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty.  He's now determined to marry into high society - a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He immediately earns Alice's respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms.  However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives.  Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light?

Review

I have a soft spot for historical dramas  Our society has a way of romanticizing times past from Biblical times, the Roman Empire, the Age of Revolution, to the Western days, and everything in between.  Opening a historical novel can be likened to entering a time machine, whereby the traveler has the opportunity to explore eras gone by, and, in that way, Line by Line is no exception.

The setting for this story is London, England, 1880.  More women are in the workforce, but not without some prejudice and stigma levied against them.  One of the areas that accepted female workers was telegraphy.  Having a father and brother both telegraphers, it was a simple decision for Alice McNeil to enter that area of work as well. Alice is a strong-minded and independent woman who thrives on challenges and making her own way in the world.  A self-described spinster, Alice is career-driven and most definitely not husband-minded.  She is very content with her situation in life, believing circumstances couldn't be better upon landing a prestigious position at a trading firm.  If only her family would agree with her perceived eternal single status, then everything would be just fine and dandy.

But then enters Douglas Shaw.  He tips her world upside down with his good looks, charm, keen mind, and bolstering acceptance of her as an equal in the office, and not just as another subservient female worker.  Their conversations together equally challenge and inspire her, pushing her to go higher in her career ambitions.  But as their discussions grow more lively, so does Alice's once-spinster heart.  Despite her best intentions, Alice finds herself falling for Douglas - but will she choose her career?  Or a chance at love?

Line by Line was a wonderful historical romance, brimming with fascinating tidbits about telegraphy.  The characters were delightful and the romance oh so sweet.  I will be looking forward to the next instalment in this "Love Along the Wires" series!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Love and a Little White Lie

 


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After a heartbreak leaves her reeling, January Sanders is open to anything - including moving into a cabin on her aunt's wedding-venue property and accepting a temporary position at her aunt's church despite being a lifelong skeptic of faith.  Choosing to keep her doubts to herself, she's determined to give her all to supporting Grace Community's overworked staff while helping herself move on.

What she doesn't count on is meeting the church's handsome and charming guitarist.  It's a match set for disaster, and yet January has no ability to stay away, even if it means pretending to have faith in a God she doesn't believe in.

Only this time, keeping her secret isn't as easy as she thought it would be.  Especially when she's constantly running into her aunt's landscape architect, who seems to know everything about her past-and-present sins and makes no apologies about pushing her to deal with feelings she'd rather keep buried.

Torn between two worlds that can't coexist, can January find the healing that's eluded her, or will her resistance to the truth ruin any chance of happiness?

Review

This novel read like a really great chick flick - and I  mean that in the highest form of praise!  A great chick flick is one that you watch over and over even after you have learned all the lines.  And no matter how many times you watch the movie, you still laugh at the same hilarious scenes and cry ugly tears at the sad moments.  In reading Love and a Little White Lie, I laughed and giggled my way through the story as the witty dialogue kept me in stitches.  This isn't just a comedy of a story, however.  There were plenty of sigh-worthy, emotional moments as well.  I love seeing the characters grow and develop, thereby adding an even greater richness to the story.

If this were a movie, I would place it proudly on my "classics" shelf alongside "Pride and Prejudice", "Ever After", "Nicholas Nickleby", and "A Walk to Remember".  But as it is a novel, it is destined to become dog-eared one day as it takes its spot in my "to be read over and over again" bookcase.  It is just that good.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Secrets of My Heart

 

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Portland, Oregon 1879

Nancy Pritchard finds herself widowed and with a world of problems when her deceased husband's shady business schemes start to come to light.  As she sifts through the shadowed memories of their loveless union, Nancy realizes ther eis a lot she didn't know about the man she married.

 Seth Carpenter, a chidlhood friend of Nancy's, has recently returend to Portland and is delighted to see her again.  As a lawyer, he offers to help her sort through the legal ramifications of her husband's death.  But there is more to Seth than meets the eye, and his job will take him into the dark side of Nancy's husband's life - a side she didn't even know existed.  

 As the two search for the truth behind her husband's death, a mutual attraction creates complications.  When Nancy's own life is threatened, can Seth be honest with her about who he really is and why he's come back to Portland?  And can Nancy bear another betrayal?

Review

I really liked this story!  In Secrets of My Heart, Tracie Peterson proves why she has been a best-selling author with over 100 novels to her credit.  This isn't the "same old" western historical romance story.  The characters were well-developed, the dialogue was engaging, the romance was sweet, and the storyline intriguing.   I enjoyed the inclusion of a mystery as the main character delves into her husband's covert business deals, details of which come to light in an alarming - and dangerous - way.  

I also appreciated Nancy Pritchard's independent spirit, as her determination to make a life for herself after her husband's untimely death really shone through the story in an inspiring way.  

Overall, this was a really pleasant, refreshing read, and easily one of my favourite historical romances to date.  I'll be looking forward to the next instalment!

 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 

Veiled in Smoke




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The flames took so much.  
She can't lose her father as well.

Meg Townsend and her sister, Sylvie, seek a quiet existence managing the family bookshop.  Meg feels responsible for caring for their father, Stephen, whose spirit and health are both damaged from his time as a prisoner during the Civil War.  Her one escape is the paintings she creates and sells in the bookshop.

Then the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district.  The fiery explosions and chaos stir up memories of war for Stephen as he runs from the blaze and becomes separated from his daughters.  Days later, when the smoke has cleared, Meg and Sylvie manage to reunite with him.  Their home and shop are lost, and what's left among the ashes may be even more threatening than the flames, for they learn that a close friend was murdered the night of the fire - and Stephen has been charged with the crime.  After he is committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum, where they cannot visit him, Stephen feels as lost to them as the shop that now lies in rubble.

Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove the truth of what happened that night, before the asylum truly drives her father mad.

Review

Wow.  What an incredible read!  With her vivid imagery and fantastic character portrayal, Jocelyn Green has penned yet another engaging historical story.  As the Great Fire roars through Chicago, I envisioned the flames licking my my own heels as Meg, Sylvie, and their father raced to safety from the impending destruction.  I felt their fear, desperation, and dashed hopes as their home and livelihood went up in flames.  
 
But even with the raw emotion that was written across the pages of Veiled in Smoke, I don't think could ever fully grasp the depths of despair that many people in Chicago felt as the fire ripped through their homes.  I grew up in an area prone to wildfires, and during the summer, there was always the awareness that one small spark or forgotten campfire could start a terrible fire that had the potential to decimate my small hometown.  But for the citizens of Chicago in 1871, they didn't have to imagine such a thing - they lived through it.
 
And that's why stories about people such as Meg and her family are inspiring to read.  While this is a fictional retelling, it is a glimpse into how the citizens of Chicago took what was burned to ash and began to rebuild.  And while they mustered courage for rebuilding a life that was as good or even better than before, for the Townsends, another forceful tragedy will rip through their home as Mr. Townsend is arrested for murder and thrown into an insane asylum.  I couldn't imagine such a thing happening to my own family!  It is from these emotional roller-coaster of struggles that Jocelyn Green has written a moving historical drama centralized around a family that refuses to give up, that leans on God when seemingly all hope is lost, and learns that there is light at the end of even the darkest of tunnels. 


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, 22 June 2020

More Than We Remember



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One night changes everything...

When Addison Kilbourn's husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart.  With her husband's memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.

Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job.  After a traumatic brain injury, her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia's determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship.  When she's called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she's fighting against, she's determined to see justice for those wronged.

Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality.  She once thrived as a counselor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose.  When her neighbors, the Kilbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne's solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn't been for too long.  

As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they've been.  Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?

Review

Wow.  What an incredible book!  Christina Suzann Nelson has penned an emotionally charged inspirational story supported by a complex and engaging set of characters.  I don't say this very often, but the characters in this story were written in such a way that they seemed very real  as they navigate a myriad of difficult real-life situations, including family trauma, relationship struggles, and spiritual doubts.  Each character deals with her "Job" moments in different ways, ranging from "running away", standing up and fighting, or protecting others facing similar situations.  More Than We Remember peels back the layers and depths of human emotion in crisis, leaving the cast of characters raw, humble, and relatable to the reader's eyes.  I felt the characters' pain and inwardly cheered them on in their struggles.  

The storyline itself was incredibly engaging with the constant unveiling of secrets and plot line twists.  It was SO difficult to put this story down - so much so that my husband teased me on more than one occasion about my nose being buried in the book again?!  

More Than We Remember is a story I will not soon forget. 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 



Friday, 19 June 2020

The Highest of Hopes



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For years she searched for somewhere to belong.  But is she looking in the right place?

After her beloved grandfather's death, Emmaline Moore is shocked to discover that her deceased father is actually alive in Canada.  Having no other family, Emma decides she must find him, and so embarks on a journey across the ocean, accompanied by her best friend Jonathan.  Unfortunately, Randall Moore and his family aren't thrilled by her arrival, fearing her sudden appearance will hinder his chance at becoming mayor of Toronto in 1919.  Despite everything, Emma remains determined to gain their affection.

Jonathan Rowe has secretly loved Emma for years and hopes that during their trip he can win her heart.  Concerned that Randall might reject her, Jonathan is ready to console Emma and bring her home.  But when she informs him that she has no intention of returning to England, Jonathan fears he'll lose her forever.  Is there any way to convince her that the love she seeks could be right in front of her?

Review

Susan Anne Mason has penned another wonderful historic read, The Highest of Hopes, being Book #2 in her "Canadian Crossings" series. 

Emmaline is a bright, vivacious, and determined character, who always seeks the positive in people.  She is unable to take "no" for an answer, so despite the less than warm welcome she receives from her father and his family, she isn't willing to give up on finally being part of a family.  This causes friction between herself and her best friend, Jonathan, as he doesn't want to see Emmaline's heart to be broken by her father. 

I really liked Emmaline's character for her ever-present positive outlook on life and desire to believe the best about everyone.  With so much negativity in the world today, Emmaline's personality was a breath of fresh air and made me want to cheer for her and her ambitions.  Her character really carried the storyline well and made for a pleasant read despite the tense and complicated interactions between Emmaline and her family.  The romance that blossomed between Emmaline and Jonathan was sweet and sigh-worthy. 

This was a really enjoyable story full of history, romance, and interesting family relationships.  I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.     

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Collateral Damage


Back Cover

They thought they left the fight behind on the battlefield.  
But their greatest struggles are just beginning.

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others, but her days of helping military personnel are over.  She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more.

Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way.  The only thing that scares him now is sleep.  As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor.  When he arrives at her office, she isn't there, but a dead body is.  When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack - and that her secrets go even deeper than his own - Asher vows to protect her no matter what.

Review

Collateral Damage is an explosive start to Lynette Eason's newest series, "Danger Never Sleeps".  From the first chapter, readers are taken on a wild ride from war-torn Afghanistan where anyone could be your enemy, to sunny South Carolina, where the terrors of war should only become a distant memory.  However, the danger didn't stay overseas, but followed Brooke and Asher as they enter civilian life.  Not only are they unsure of who attacked Brooke, they don't even know what it is her assailant is after.  All these factors result in a page-turning story with endless twists and turns!  I loved every word, every chapter, and was sorry for the story to end.  Suspense novels are my favourite read, and Lynette Eason hit the ball out of the park with this one.  Can't wait for Book #2!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.